Google's New Phone Tech Will Alert You When Someone's Creeping Over Your Shoulder

Photo: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg/Getty Images.
With Apple's FaceID stealing the tech spotlight at the moment, Google's hoping to take facial recognition in an entirely different direction.
According to CNET, Google researchers Hee Jung Ryu and Florian Schroff are working on an electronic screen protector that's nothing like the mirrored privacy screens you may have previously seen. Instead of creating a physical barrier from prying eyes, the new technology actually recognizes when someone is looking at your phone screen.
Schroff and Ryu showed the technology – which blends artificial intelligence with facial recognition – in a YouTube video. In the clip, a guy glancing at a Google Pixel phone gets identified with a giant rainbow after the screen switches from the text message window to the front-facing camera. When the person looks away, the screen goes right back to the messaging app. The Snapchat-style effect is a fun touch, but CNET adds that there could be some serious uses for the high-tech screen protector.
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Quartz notes that while the YouTube video is available to the public, Schroff and Ryu will officially debut their creation at the Neural Information Processing Systems conference next week. The site explains that the tech takes two nanoseconds to recognize a face and that it'll work in all sorts of different lighting situations, too.
The tech isn't just an indication of when someone is looking at your text messages on the train, either. CNET says that the feature can protect sensitive information for people who work on the go — so, basically, everyone. Corporate emails, private photos, and confidential information can get one more layer of protection with the new safeguard. It could also allow people to watch videos in complete privacy, allowing users to keep their secret addiction to Dr. Pimple Popper under wraps.
Unfortunately for anyone looking forward to seeing every clandestine glance transform into a rainbow, CNET adds that Google doesn't have any plans to actually integrate the new technology into its phones. Don't lose hope, though: The Verge reports that Google has added new features to its devices upon customer demand.
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