Even if you’re not a fan of Apple, it’s hard to deny the effectiveness of the company’s facial recognition system that they’ve implemented into its iPhones and iPads, at least compared to what most Android manufacturers have tried to bring to the table.
That being said, it seems that Google at one point in time was interested in iris scanning technology. This is according to a tweet by the Internal Archive that revealed a prototype Pixel 2 handset that Google was testing out with iris scanning.
(1/4) A very rare Google Pixel 2 Walleye Prototype (EVT-E), with a previously undiscovered Iris Recognition system built into the device. To enroll, you line up your eyes and keep them open. Part of the #internalarchivecollection pic.twitter.com/wrSZ8dbJpS
— Internal Archive (@ArchiveInternal) October 28, 2022
According to the photos, the front-facing camera has been replaced by an IR-filtered front camera, and booting up the device boots it into AOSP with a camera app that has IR view. Ultimately Google obviously did not release the device with IR scanning ,with the company later opting for Soli-based facial scanning in the Pixel 4.
Iris scanning isn’t exactly new though. Samsung had previously implemented it into their phones. That being said, this information shouldn’t be too surprising. We imagine that many companies, Google included, probably experiment and try out different types of tech during the design stages, but obviously not all of it makes the final cut.