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Face Unlock on Jelly Bean now checks if you’re a photo, asks you to blink

July 1, 2012

A year ago, Google introduced the Face Unlock feature on Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. It is a novel and convenient way – when it works, anyway — to quickly unlock your Android phone after it recognizes your face, with security not being the main focus.

The main criticism that is often leveled against the quirky Face Unlock is that flashing a still photo of the user when trying to unlock the phone can fool the system. It’s something that Google has acknowledged back then, but only decided to act upon on Android 4.1 Jelly Bean.

The updated Face Unlock now comes with an added security measure. There’s an extra option called the “liveness check”, which does exactly as the name implies. When you opt to activate it, the system will check whether or not you’re an inanimate object by asking you to blink before you can gain access to your phone.

It won’t necessarily make it the safest method to escape the phone’s lockscreen, but an extra security is always welcome. We wonder why Google stopped at blinking, though. Why not make users do a series of patterned blinking? How about a combo of blinking and smiling? Yeah, probably not.

Do you use Face Unlock at all and find it practical?