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Android Q could finally match Apple iOS in one major way

Google’s Android Q operating system could finally have a built-in Face ID competitor worthy of the name, judging by the latest beta release.

Yesterday we brought word of Android Q Beta 4‘s release and, now developers and interested observers have had chance to dig around, we’re hearing more about the headline features within.

In a report on Thursday, 9to5Google says it found a “Face Authentication” area of the settings menu, which suggests native support for a new biometric security feature. It also found an icon referring to Face Authentication too. Neat.

Related: How the Android Q beta on your smartphone right now

The report cites evidence suggesting the feature will be used to unlock the phones, make payments via Google Pay and sign into apps. Basically everything people love about Apple’s Face ID.

A string discovered within the code also reveals that Android users will also be able to permanently delete all face-related data from their handsets. Here’s the relevant sections from the code:

<string name=”security_settings_face_settings_remove_dialog_details”>Data recorded by face unlock will be permanently and securely deleted. After removal, you will need your PIN, pattern, or password to unlock your phone, sign in to apps, and confirm payments.</string>

<string name=”security_settings_face_settings_remove_dialog_title”>Delete face data?</string>

A search within the settings for “Face”, which you can see below, also gives users the opportunity to customise about app sign-in and payments and unlocking the device. There’s also a section pertaining to users needing to have their eyes open for the feature to work.

Screenshot of a search setting serach with face typed in search bar and results displayed below

Image credit: 9to5Google

While many manufacturers have added their own implementation of facial recognition tools, they haven’t always provided the best functionality and reliability when compared to Apple’s Face ID (which in itself isn’t perfect).

By standardising the feature with a native version, Google would be able to ensure an acceptable level of security that wouldn’t be duped by a video like the face unlock feature on the Samsung Galaxy S10.

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