Earlier today, Google started rolling out Google App version 22.214.171.124 on the Google Play Store. I received the update on my OnePlus 6 and started looking into the update for anything interesting. I discovered a new string that details how the upcoming Face Match feature may work in Google Assistant.
An APK teardown can often predict features that may arrive in a future update of an application, but it is possible that any of the features we mention here may not make it in a future release. This is because these features are currently unimplemented in the live build and may be pulled at any time by Google in a future build.
Google Assistant’s Face Match Feature
Last month, I discovered evidence that Google is working on a Face Match feature for the Google Assistant. At the time, the purpose of Face Match was unclear. I speculated that it might be a replacement for the outdated and insecure Trusted Face feature, but a new string suggests the feature will be analogous to the existing Voice Match feature.
Voice Match in Google Assistant
The string that I discovered isn’t located in the usual place, though. You won’t actually find it by decompiling the APK. I looked into the APK using JEB Decompiler and the key which contains the below value is actually empty. The string can only be found by pulling an internal database, which means it was populated after I updated to the latest version of the app. In any case, here’s the new string, with all its errors left in:
Teach your Assistant to recognize your face;Face Match helps your Assistant identify your face and tell you aprt from others by creating a unique model of your voice on this device.;<b>Why set up Face Match?<\/b> It allows your Assistant to proactively show you your important notifications, calendar events, reminders, and personal results if you have personal results enabled. <br\/><br\/> <b>Keep in mind:<\/b> A person with similar face might be able to acdess your personal results, too. You can remove Face Match permission later by turnning it off in the Assistant settings.
Ignoring the typos and obvious wording error where it says “voice” in place of “face”, the string tells us that the Google Assistant will set up a model of your face to provide you personalized results like notifications, calendar events, reminders, and more. Google notes that the feature may not be secure as a person with a “similar face” may be able to access your results. I’m hoping it’s at least more secure than Trusted Face, though.
I’m not entirely sure when Google will roll out this feature. Since the first Google Pixel 3 leaks, people have been hoping for Google to introduce their own form of Face ID, but it doesn’t look like Face Match will be it. This is purely speculation, but Face Match could play a role in the upcoming Pixel Stand accessory as a form of authentication before allowing you to access the docked Assistant UI.
If we learn more about Google Assistant’s Face Match feature, we’ll let you know. If you are interested in downloading the latest version of the Google App, you can do so from the Google Play Store link below.