Google App 8.16 recently rolled out on the Google Play Store, but there aren’t any new features for users to care about. Within the app’s code, however, are hints that Google may be working on a “Face Match” feature for Google Assistant. While we aren’t entirely sure what this new feature will be used for, we’re sure that it’s distinct from the “Trusted Face” feature that has been around in Google Play Services for years. “Face Match” is likely an enhanced version of the existing Trusted Face feature, an upgrade for which is definitely needed since Trusted Face is outdated and insecure.
“Face Match” in Google Assistant
A few months back, the folks over at AndroidPolice spotted a new entry in the Assistant settings with the code-name “Avocado.” While it’s possible to force the Google App to show Avocado settings, there isn’t much information to gain from doing so as the settings page is currently empty and crashes when you attempt to start the onboarding process.
Last month, I started digging around to see if I could find anything in the code that could explain what “Avocado” is. From the code mentioning Avocado, it looks like the settings page requires the Google App to have Android’s camera permission granted, relies on some “face detector dependencies,” and makes use of a “happiness” index which likely refers to one of the features in ML Kit’s API for Face Detection. I concluded that Avocado is a feature that’s definitely related to facial recognition, though I didn’t have enough evidence to conclude it was for “Face Match.” The latest Google App version, however, confirms that “Avocado” is a “Face Match” setting for Google Assistant.
In the code snippets above, you can see how “Face Match” is listed as a Google Assistant setting, that there’s metadata, image, and video information in Assistant, and lastly that there’s a page for “Face Match” enrollment in Assistant settings. The last code snippet directly ties this feature to the “Avocado” code-name as we cross-referenced “cGY” and the only other reference is in the class for “AvocadoOnboarding.”
Since we’re sure many of you are wondering, we haven’t found evidence that ties this feature to the upcoming Google Pixel 3. The recent leaks point to at least dual front-facing cameras on the Pixel 3 XL, so we wouldn’t be surprised if this new feature is in preparation for face unlock on the upcoming Pixel smartphones.
Speaking of the Pixel 3, we did find an additional piece of code for a new feature related to the rumored “Pixel Stand” wireless charging dock. One of the methods that checks whether the device is compatible with the “dreamliner” series of wireless charging docks also checks if the device is eligible for “Pixel tips.” We’re not entirely sure what “Pixel tips” refers to, but it could be related to the personalized suggestions that were mentioned in the strings that first revealed the Pixel Stand’s existence.
If we learn more information about Google Assistant’s “Face Match” feature or what “Pixel tips” are, we’ll let you know. Also, XDA Recognized Developer Quinny899 will attempt to force “Face Match” to show on the latest Google App version. If he manages to make this work, we’ll let you all know what he discovers.