More rumors are surfacing regarding the next version of Android, as we inch closer to the first developer preview. Now, the rumor mill is pointing towards Google finally jumping on the facial recognition bandwagon, a few years ago Apple and many other smartphone makers have added the feature.
The rumor comes out of XDA Developers, who have been digging through the code of the leaked Android Q build. The site has found numerous references to facial recognition in different parts of the OS. This means that Google will likely debut an API for facial recognition, similar to it did with the fingerprint API a few years ago with Android Marshmallow.
The advantage to allowing apps to use a single API for facial recognition is the fact that users will be able to login to apps like banking and financial apps with their face, instead of needing to put in a PIN or password. It should, in theory, work the same as the fingerprint API worked in the past. This also means that many more apps will jump on-board with support for facial recognition right away. It's also easier for developers to build for it, since it will support all devices running Android Q and later, instead of having to build for an API like Samsung's that only supports Samsung devices – even though Samsung is the largest Android maker, it's still better to support all Android devices.
There's no screenshots depicting the facial recognition, and that's not a surprise, since it is likely only partially baked at this point. Google will likely not announce this – at least not completely – in Android Q until it is made official with the stable build at the end of the summer. However, it does mean that the Pixel 4 is going to have facial recognition. Usually when Google adds these features to Android, it's because the next Pixel phone is going to sport it. Like notch support last year, it came with Android Pie, and the Pixel 3 XL sports a notch.
According to the code, there's no name for this facial recognition just yet, but Google will likely have some catchy name for it, like Pixel Imprint for its fingerprint sensor. As mentioned, this is still far off from being available, so there's still time for Google to work on it and get the marketing aspect ready.
Google typically launches the first developer preview for a new version of Android around the middle of February. Typically just before Mobile World Congress takes place in Barcelona. And with there only being a few days left in January now, that means we are getting pretty close to that first developer preview. While the second usually comes out of Google I/O in May, with the third, fourth and fifth coming out about every month until the stable version launches around August. It'll be interesting to see what all Google has planned for Android Q, though many are going to be wondering what the Q will stand for. That won't be announced until August, though.