On September 5th, the U.S. Patent and Trademark awarded Google a patent that allows one or more users to sign in to a computer using facial recognition. This patent, called “Login to a computing device based on facial recognition”, uses a computer’s camera to determinte the identity of users by facial recognition. The patent also details how information will be gathered to confirm the identity of a user.
According to the patent filing, “A method of logging a first user in to a computing device includes receiving an image of the first user via a camera operably coupled with the computing device and determining an identity of the first user based on the received image. If the determined identity matches a predetermined identity, then, based at least on the identity of the first user matching the predetermined identity, the first user is logged in to the computing device.”
At the end of 2011, Apple submitted a very similar patent for facial recognition technology but it is unkown how Google or Apple intend to use this technology. Any chance of patent wars regarding how it is used are relying on the high profile patent litigation already occuring between technology companies, such as the recent lawsuits between Samsung and Apple.
Similar, but less advanced, technology is already present in Android 4.0+ devices like the Samsung Galaxy Nexus so it is likely the patent for facial recognition technology will be put to use in future Android phones.
David Angotti writes for Search Engine Journal, and can be found on Twitter at @DavidAngotti