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Face Unlock On Galaxy Nexus Is Very Neat, But Easily Compromised With a Picture?

The world was introduced to the Galaxy Nexus’ facial recognition setting at the Ice Cream Sandwich launch.  While it may not have worked perfectly in the dim lighting on stage, most of us were still impressed. Hold your beautiful mug in front of the camera and the phone will recognize you and unlock itself.  True definition of a smartphone.  But what happens when you use a picture of yourself instead of your actual face?  A video showing a man holding a picture of himself in front of the G-Nex that is programmed to recognize his actual face (not the picture like he accidentally says in the video) to unlock it has just surfaced and it reminds everyone that maybe your face isn’t the best way to keep your device secure.  Not that any of us thought that it would be.  Cool trick to show off to your friends, but after that it doesn’t serve a very useful purpose.  Full video down below.

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Via: Phandroid

  • Anonymous

    I wouldn’t say it’s useless. Not the most secure, but if someone steals your phone or you lose it somewhere, they probably don’t have a picture of you.

  • EC8CH

    Hey that’s a cool looking phone!

    When can I get one on Verizon?

  • Rick

    Not stopping me or my wife on getting the Galaxy Nexus. Only way for us not getting one if VZW screws it up, like they did with the Nexus One.

  • Whett Phartz

    Um… duh? 

  • Anonymous

    Who cares, its mostly for fun anyway. I’m sure they will tweek it soon enough. Add a wait till it blinks feature or something like that. 

  • It would work if you left it at the bar by accident.

  • Anonymous

    I notice you’ve gained 10lbs…access denied

    • Justincantor1

      If anyone wants face recognition now,download Visidon from the market.There’s a free version and a paid.I can tell you it works perfectly and there is a feature that detects stillness,or a photo in other words.You need the paid version to unlock your home screen.

  • GianCarlo Bregaglio

    Oh well.  This doesn’t make the phone any less appealing.

  • It is about as secure as the pattern unlock, if you don’t wipe your phone screen down regularly.

  • hatethanet

    I wish he compared the size differences between the Note and G-Nex in more detail. I’m curious about that.

  • Bryan Paul

    I mean obviously. Face Unlock to me isn’t supposed to be like Fort Knox security. For someone to have your picture they have to be targeting you and prepared to unlock your phone with picture in hand. Most likely this will just have nerdy friends playing pranks on each other. 

  • hatethanet

    Face unlock seems like a gimmick to me at this point anyway.

  • Tyler

    Well, guess I don’t need to test this out now. 🙂

    EDIT: Also you would think that the software would recognize the picture and figure out, hey that’s the same thing i just say about 3 seconds ago, and work for the first few times but after that stop.

  • nexus on the brain

    This is also on the gigantic Note….I suppose if someone were to obtain your high school 8 1/2 x 11, they might be able to do this too….

  • Chris G

    Would be nice if I could try that for myself.

    Damn you VZ, where is my GNexus?

  • Anonymous

    Well there’s a feature I won’t be using on my Galaxy Nexus.

  • Dominick DeVito

    I think 11:11 11/11/11 screwed up Disqus

  • DeJecTus

    Haven’t they said there are multiple settings for the face recognition? I had that on my Asus computer and on the lowest security setting it would unlock with a picture of myself but on the highest setting I had trouble with it unlocking with my actual face… 

  • Anonymous

    I’m not TOO worried about this. I figure that if I lose my phone to some stranger, they won’t know who I am and won’t have a picture of me, hopefully…

  • Anonymous

    They don’t tout it as a security feature, more a screen unlock method. It’s one step above slide to unlock.


    • Dontdoubtthedel

      That image shows it as one step below…

  • Man why are comments always so wonky!!! Is it Disqus that’s screwed up or what?

  • GotSka81

    Couldn’t it still be used to recognize another part of your body other than your face?  Maybe a finger?  (ie, take a picture of your finger and hold it up to the camera to unlock).  Who has a picture of their finger laying around?

    • Most likely not because facial recognition is designed to recognize faces. It isn’t an image match, but a measurement of distances between your eyes, nose, mouth, etc.

  • Anonymous

    There isn’t any chance that buying a Nexus from overseas would work on Verizon would it?

  • Bewara2009

    This even makes me want it more!

  • Wife and I were discussing this issue as well as the possibility of our child holding the phone to our face to unlock it during a nap and the possible issues with that.

  • Earl Echols

    Visidon AppLock Plus does all this but has a “Liveness Detection” feature to make sure its not a picture. Its pretty cool.

  • sparty569

    Isnt this something [email protected]:twitter mentioned a long time ago?

  • Hahayeah

    I was first…..where’s mah first at?

    • Anonymous

      Na, when it all starts working again you will find you were nowhere near first.  sorry….

  • John

    before anyone asks, yes he did program the phone with his face & not a picture

    (google said it wouldn’t be possible in final version)

  • Hahayeah


  • ETA?

  • nexus on the brain

    Gimme a break….some turkey is going to steal your phone, and does anyone believe that they will also get a “just-right” picture of you to be able to do this…..the sky might fall tomorrow too

    • I don’t think it’s so much of an issue of a stranger stealing your phone, but somebody that does know you could do this trick to get access to your phone.

      • Anonymous

        Like nosy girl friends

        • Anonymous

          well then don’t have a nosy girlfriend. lol.

    • Anonymous

      Dang it, I read turkey and you made me so hungry. Can’t wait for Thanksgiving dinner lol

    • Mike Ambrosino

      If someone that stole or borrowed the phone is friends with you on a social network then they could go through your profile pictures and boom they’re in.

  • Anonymous

    As the apple homers say about Siri, it’s still in beta!

  • Anonymous

    Why would anyone be surprised by this?

  • Hahayeah


  • Anonymous

    Did NOT think that one through…

  • This is exactly what I was trying to say when they revealed this! I knew this would be a problem.

  • This is exactly why I’ll never trust biometrics. Haven’t you all seen the movies where someone takes a person’s eye out to pass a security door?

    • Anonymous

      Right, and good ol’ fashion keys are far more secure.

    • Sp4rxx

      wow way to call back to Demolition Man … lol

    • Repoman88

      That won’t work anymore because of pulse ox sensors. They got smart

  • I’m pretty sure most of us realized this was a probable flaw as soon as they tried to demo it on stage in Hong Kong.

  • F-DaIphone

    iPhone lovers comment against the Nexus in 3..2..1..

  • Yeah, but when is the release date?

  • Anonymous

    I guess you’d better make sure that in every existing and future photo of yourself, you’re making a really screwed up face.

  • Jason Purp

    What did you expect?

  • Anonymous

    Yeah I was wondering about that… whoopsie Google.  I’ll still try it though.

  • Justen Castle

    I could have guess that, you would almost need a 3D camera to make it more secure.

  • Anonymous

    I was thinking about this exact thing yesterday. 

  • Dominick DeVito

    Set your phone to unlock to a beautiful woman and keep a picture of her in your pocket at all times. 

    • Anonymous

      Now thats using both of your heads!

  • Anonymous

    What if you were ugly… would another ugly person work also?

    • Anonymous

      lmao wtf

  • Anonymous


  • Dominick DeVito

    Cool feature, but won’t use it much only because it takes too long

    • EC8CH

      Looked pretty fast in that video.

    • Jaime Ramirez


    • From every video demonstration I’ve seen, it works really quick. I don’t think it’s just a gimmick.