Google confirms $5 study was for Pixel 4 facial recognition research

Last week, we noted that Google had been spotted testing the Pixel 4’s face unlock features, asking users in major US cities to offer up their facial data for $5. The firm confirmed the study today even as it announced more Pixel 4 features because why wait for a factory to leak it when you can drive the narrative yourself.

“Our goal is to build the feature with robust security and performance. We’re also building it with inclusiveness in mind, so as many people as possible can benefit,” Google told the Verge in an email, “Although face samples inherently can’t be anonymous, each participant is assigned an abstract identity number. We separately keep each participant’s email address, in order to remove data upon request.”

There are much worse ways of collecting facial recognition data than by asking people to fill out a consent form and paying them for their time, so its a good thing Google chose a slightly more laudable method in this age of data mining.

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