Would you sell your face to Google for $5? The company is apparently collecting face data in several major cities and paying folks in exchange for their faces.
One person says that they were in a park in New York City and discovered a small group of Google employees approaching people with phones. These Google employees came up to the man and, according to ZDNet, said that they were “collecting data to improve the next generation of facial recognition phone unlocking.”
The man was handed a phone in a large protective case and used the selfie mode to capture his face from different angles. After he was done, the Google employees offered him a $5 gift card to either Amazon or Starbucks in exchange for capturing his face data.
When asked if they were the only Google employees collecting data, the Googlers said that they’ve got teams in many other cities doing the same thing.
Google didn’t have an official comment on this report, but it’s possible that these employees were gathering face data to improve a face unlock feature for the Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL. Leaks have shown that the new Pixels are ditching the rear fingerprint reader found on previous models, which suggests that they’ll use either an in-display fingerprint sensor or that they’ll rely on face unlock. The theory that Google is collecting face data for the Pixel 4 is aided by the fact that the phone these employees were using to collect face info was in a large hard case, which was likely used to hide the phone’s identity.
If your phone offers face unlock, do you use it?