Google has released an update to its Android Compatibility Definition Document (CDD), and among the most notable rule changes is one that concerns restrictions in the ways cameras are allowed to interpret the facial images they capture.
The rule can be found in the Camera API Behavior section of the CDD, and it states that hardware manufacturers that wish to pass Google’s tests and be permitted access to Google’s services “MUST ensure that the facial appearance is NOT altered, including but not limited to altering facial geometry, facial skin tone, or facial skin smoothening for any android.hardware.camera2 or android.hardware.Camera API.”
The CDD is essentially a document that outlines what prospective Android hardware makers need to do to satisfy Google and gain access to Google Mobile Services and the Google Play Store.
There aren’t any details in the CDD regarding what the exact purpose of the rule is, but Android Central speculates that it has to do with preventing the altering of face geometry for the purpose of allowing facial recognition systems (like Google’s Face Unlock) to be able to recognize individuals.
Though this doesn’t mean that manufacturer’s who use Android as their OS can’t allow their cameras to smoothen selfies or apply filters, it does mean that they can’t use the standard camera API to do so and instead will have to write their own software that does this after the image has been taken.
The rule could also be an indication that Google is planning on introducing its Face Unlock facial recognition solution to phones other than its own Pixel line, and is taking measures to ensure it works as well as it does on hardware and software that Google itself has control over.
Biometric authentication has become a key feature for smartphones, and particularly flagship ones like the Pixel. Bearing that in mind, it does make sense that the tech giant would want to ensure that it takes precautions to be certain that its own version of the biometric feature works as well as its competitors.
Source: Android Central