Android Jelly Bean adds blink security improvement

We’ve been bringing you plenty of news about the upcoming new Android OS, 4.1 Jelly Bean, since it was unveiled at Google I/O last week. Now we have learned of another new addition to Jelly Bean that should improve security as the Face Unlock feature now requires the user to blink.

Jelly Bean adds some great additions to 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich including Google Now, improved notifications, Project Butter and more and yesterday we looked at the Jelly Bean factor when choosing between the Galaxy S3 or the upcoming Galaxy Note 2. However we had not seen a mention of this more minor addition previously and thought it was worth bringing to the attention of our readers.

Many of you will have already heard or used the Android Face Unlock feature but it was far from perfect and there was a lot of criticism about it when it emerged that Face Unlock could be fooled by a photograph. That’s where the new ‘Liveness Check’ on Jelly Bean comes in because now when the user looks at the display they will also have to blink to gain access, thus a photo will no longer be enough to fool the system. We heard of the Liveness Check through TechCrunch and it’s good to see Google adding extra oomph to the feature with the eye blink unlock.

It’s a clever addition, similar to the blink-recognition technology used by Samsung but The Verge cautions that users should still not rely on Face Unlock as a foolproof system. To be fair Google has never claimed its low-security Face Unlock feature to be anything other than experimental but as The Verge claims it has seen two people who look “vaguely similar” fool the lockscreen then we’d add this is obviously still to be considered as more of a party piece rather than a serious security measure. Of course there’s also a possibility that the new Jelly Bean Liveness Check might be fooled by a video but any improvements are welcome.

Android 4.1 Jelly Bean is due to release in mid-July and will be rolled out to devices gradually starting with the Galaxy Nexus and Nexus S. If the 4.0 ICS update is anything to go by though, then don’t expect Jelly Bean to reach your Android device any time soon as plenty of people are still waiting for Ice Cream Sandwich. We’d like to hear your thoughts on the new blink Liveness Check on Jelly Bean so send us your comments to let us know if you’ll be using the improved Face Unlock security measure? Maybe you like the idea but will stick with a PIN for the time being?

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