Ice Cream Sandwich’s Face Unlock feature has received plenty of criticism, most of which centers around the accuracy and reliability of using the method to access one’s phone. For those still worried that Face Unlock could be spoofed using a still photo of the phone’s owner, Google has a response in Android 4.1 Jelly Bean. A new “liveness check” can be enabled that will require a user to blink before the device will unshackle the lockscreen.
The addition adds an extra layer of security to the feature, but it still remains more of a neat party trick than anything super useful. Raise your hand if you use Face Unlock as the main way to access your device. I’m guessing not many do. While cool, the process takes a bit more time than simply typing in a pin or swiping a pattern. With the added blink procedure things slow down even more. And even with the additional security, Face Unlock still doesn’t feel like the most reliable way to keep your phone under lock and key.
Still, it is great to see Google continuing to improve on the feature. If they can do with Face Unlock what they have done with things like Voice Search and speech dictation, then someday it may become a true killer feature.