YOUR FACE is worth a fiver. That's the conclusion we have come to after it was revealed that Google has been offering people a Fin (that's $5 to you) to use your features in the training for its forthcoming face unlock feature.
The as-yet-unnamed feature is designed to rival Apple's Face ID, but the methodology is pure Google.
ZDNet reports that the company is sending out street teams to gather face data from public places, in exchange for a $5 gift card, valid at either Amazon or Starbucks.
It's been suggested that those taking part are being handed a Pixel 4 device prototype to collect the information - it's expected that the Pixel 4 will be the first device to offer Google's face unlocking. However, it is hard to tell as the whole thing is in an oversized plastic case, a trick often used by manufacturers looking to disguise their unreleased hardware.
Google hasn't made an official announcement about the scheme yet, but those asking to take part are apparently given a substantial waiver to sign, with nobody checking to see if they've read it - as such we don't currently know exactly what Google bought with their $5.
Google has been fairly critical of facial recognition in the past, suggesting it is inherently biased.
It could be that it gets used once to train a neural network and then scrapped - but that doesn't sound very Google, does it? It's not currently known if this is an officially sanctioned Google recruitment technique or a bunch of engineers using their initiative.
We don't expect it to turn up as the face of Google's first humanoid robot or anything, but equally, under the pressure of being randomly approached in the street, you could find yourself signing over your visual intellectual property (yeah, we know, we could have just said 'face') without ever knowing how long it's going to stay in use, and more importantly, why. μ
Larry Ellison pays tribute to an 'irreplaceable friend'
The way we found out may surprise you
Air to the throne
Wonder who will get 999.999.999.999