Why can’t Google get biometric login (aka, fingerprint and face recognition) right on its Pixel phones?
I am a Android fanboy who generally loves Google’s Pixel phones and has not owned an iPhone since, like, version 1.0. But I have been repeatedly disappointed by Google’s implementation of fingerprint and face recognition for login purposes.
Case in point: the Pixel 6 Pro that I obtained two weeks ago has the most unreliable fingerprint reader I have ever encountered. And I am not alone in this opinion–as a Google search quickly reveals:
My main beef with the fingerprint reader is its unreliability. I’d say it responds after a single press about 40% of the time. More aggravating is that about 10% of the time it does not work at all. And I am forced to enter my PIN. Oh, the inconvenience of it all!
Perhaps this would not be as annoying if the previous Pixel–the Pixel 5–did not have a perfect fingerprint reader. It was in just the right place (the middle of the phone’s back) so that my finger naturally felt it when I pulled the phone out of my pocket. And the only times that it could not read my finger correctly was when it was wet or the print was otherwise obscured.
Additionally, the fingerprint reader was a huge improvement over the biometric reader of the previous Pixel release, which relied solely on face recognition. The Pixel 4’s face recognition seldom worked as advertised for me and then (hello, COVID!) when I started covering my face it became utterly useless. In fact, I bought the Pixel 5 mostly to escape face recognition.
Man, I loved the Pixel 5 fingerprint reader. When Google announced that it was moving the reader from the phone’s back to the screen on the front, I vowed not to buy the Pixel 6. I was persuaded to get one, however, by the improvements in the camera, which are pretty doggone amazing.
Thus, I don’t regret my purchase of the Pixel 6, but it’s time for Google to admit that its flagship phone’s biometrics are crap.