It looks like Google is preparing to bring a Face Unlock system to future devices running on its Chrome OS.
The revelation comes by way of some newly added code in Chrome’s back-end. While the clues offered in code snippets can sometimes be a bit ambiguous, this sample seems pretty clear, with its key line reading “Add face detection The face detection works if set the mode to FD_MODE_FULL.”
To the layperson, this might not look like a smoking gun, but expert developers appear confident that this refers to a biometric password replacement that would let Chrome OS users access their devices through facial recognition. As 9to5Google reports, this system is going to require specialized hardware that isn’t yet in place on current Google computers, so the feature will likely arrive on a future Chromebook or Pixelbook device.
In embracing Face Unlock, Google appears to be keeping pace with a couple of its main rivals in the tech world. Apple helped to make facial recognition mainstream with its iPhone X’s Face ID system last year, of course, but Microsoft has also been quietly pioneering Face Unlock technology on the desktop since the launch of its Windows Hello biometric security system, which supports infrared face scanning for user authentication. Consumers are getting used to unlocking their devices just by looking at them, and Google clearly is trying to stay on trend.