Google is handing out $5 gift cards in exchange for five minutes of face time with random people on the street. The company is reportedly training a new facial recognition algorithm that would be deployed in the next generation of Pixel smartphones.
The algorithm would essentially give Google an in-house alternative to Apple’s Face ID, and would allow users to unlock their smartphones with a facial recognition scan. To improve the algorithm, Google employees have been approaching people on the street and asking them to capture their face from a variety of different angles using what appears to be a prototype phone in a large case.
The interaction was first reported by a man named Chris, whose friend George was approached by Google employees in New York City. The employees indicated that other teams were conducting similar tests in other cities. George was asked to sign a waiver before engaging with the phone, and was then offered a $5 gift card to Starbucks or Amazon to thank him for his trouble.
The facial recognition technology is expected to be a new feature of the upcoming Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL phones. The report comes shortly after leaked images suggested that those phones would ditch the Pixel’s rear-mounted fingerprint sensor in favor of a larger camera. Having said that, a separate report has indicated that the Pixel will continue to support fingerprint biometrics thanks to an in-display fingerprint scanner.