Google needs to try harder if it wants to compete in the phone market

Released with little notice on October 24 the Google Pixel 4 is the latest iteration of the flagship phone produced by the famous tech company, Google. Coming three years after the release of the first model there have been features both added and removed. After the initial release of the Google Assistant on the Pixel phone the company has continued progress to bring “artificial intelligence” into our hands. With low penetration of the phone market it appears this company is working hard to try to sell the hardware through optimization of the software.

If like myself, you are an avid viewer of YouTube you may be familiar with the channel “First We Feast” which produces the series “Hot Ones.” In the preroll ad for a recent video host Sean Evans is seen interacting with this new phone demonstrating advanced features for the voice assistant. In particular Evens is seen using what Google has named “continuation of conversation.” This feature allows users to have a more natural conversation when using this technology and create a better experience with more precise results. The developers intend for this to be a way to get more people interacting with our devices beyond the basic touch screen interface.

The new motion sense features that Google has added to this phone include enhanced facial recognition. Notably the phone is able to use radar sensing to tell when a user is reaching for the device, that in turn wakes the phone and ready’s the camera to detect and recognize the user’s face to unlock nearly instantly. This of course is not without concern, it is directly noted in the set-up process that the facial recognition does have vulnerabilities. One such vulnerability that has been discovered is that the software does not seem to check for eyes which means that it is possible to unlock the phone with your eyes closed. This leads to potential cases in which a user could have their phone unlocked while they are asleep for example. For the benefit of expedited phone entry there is a clear security risk built in that any potential user should consider.

One thing you won’t find on this phone however is a fingerprint scanner. For uncertain reasons the latest model has had this biometric option removed. An odd choice when more apps are now integrating this feature into login credentials. With demonstrated security benefits over the facial recognition the removal of this hardware is a bold move. “The fingerprint scanner is good to have for a backup unlock method” said freshman Bruce VanMatre. With the majority of students using iPhone and the Android users being dominated by Samsung it is clear our campus follows the global trend of the Pixel having less than 5% of market share.

Leave a Reply