April 15, 2015 weblog
Report: Trusted Voice option rolling out for some
Smart Lock is arguably the best new feature in Android Lollipop, wrote Droid Life founder "Kellex" in March. With a secure lock screen set, he said, the user gets a number of options in Smart Lock to keep the phone or tablet quickly unlockable when the device is near. Ron Amadeo in Ars Technica similarly said Smart Lock was "one of the more convenient security features added in Android 5.0 Lollipop."
This time, a new and functional Trusted Voice Smart Lock option is rolling out—to some users, said Liam Spradlin on April 12 in Android Police. With this option, users could unlock devices with their voice. Technology Personalized said the Trusted Voice feature will be found in the Smart Lock settings menu and will allow users to access their device when it recognizes them saying "OK Google."
"Back when Google Play Services 7.0 rolled out," said Spradlin, "we noticed partial support for something called Trusted Voice. As a smart lock entry, it was fairly obvious that the option would allow users to unlock devices with their voice, but the necessary setting in the Google app wasn't visible just yet." Now, he added, "we've heard from multiple users that the fully formed feature is rolling out."
Kevin Tofel in ZDNet pointed out that "Trusted Voice will join other ways to unlock your Android phone or tablet running the Lollipop software. Trusted Places keeps your device unlocked in certain locations, such as at home, while enabling On-Body Detection does the same when your phone is in a pocket; place it on a table, however, and it will lock."
"OK Google" voice commands can get authorization from the sound of your voice, which is quite convenient, but there is also an important note about security that Spradlin and other tech watchers did not ignore. Darren Pauli in The Register said, "voice imitation may be simpler in some cases than guessing passwords and other manual unlock gestures."
There is a warning provided that said the Trusted Voice unlocking was less secure than other options. Here is what the Trusted Voice message says: "Trusted Voice is less secure than a pattern, PIN or password. Someone with a similar voice or a recording of your voice could unlock your device." How many users will Cancel and how many will say OK? Kevin Tofel of ZDNet said, "I don't expect many people that carry an Android phone to the office to use Trusted Voice. Even home workers like me will have to think twice before using it."
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