If you've ever been frustrated by Amazon's password authentication when you're in a rush to make a purchase, you'll be happy to know that those days may soon be behind us. A pay-with-selfie feature might come to Amazon soon, thanks to a new patent that uses facial recognition technology to authenticate logins. Clearly, the future is now.
This all might sound pretty familiar to readers acquainted with Windows Hello: Microsoft's user-recognition technology. Microsoft pushed Windows Hello as the Next Big Thing in online security, encouraging websites to allow individuals to login with its Passport feature. Because sometimes you wanna go where everybody knows your face.
Windows Hello and Passport have not taken off yet but, as PC World points out, now is the time for Microsoft to push its login feature to the masses, before Amazon has a chance:
[Q]uite a bit of what [Amazon's] patent covers is already part of Microsoft’s capabilities: The depth cameras in the Book and SP4 already offer the added security of scanning your head, as well as your face; and the Kinect technology that underlies them can clearly interpret a wink or a nod. Again, the point is that I'm seated at a computer that already has these capabilities built into it, but they aren't being utilized. Meanwhile, Amazon’s Alexa technology is quietly moving closer and closer to becoming the digital assistant, if not the personal shopper, of the masses.
Facial recognition technology scares the bejeezus out of more than a few folks, who fear having their movements monitored by hackers or the NSA. But, in a time when web browsers remember login information, and phones store credit card data, online security should be a top priority for everyone. As CNBC observes, facial recognition authentication could protect users whose devices are misplaced or stolen from financial ruin.
No matter whether Microsoft or Amazon wins the authentication war, a successful pay-by-selfie feature must address the needs of unorthodox users. This will mean associating more than one face to an account, and allowing users whose appearances change to update their scans. Of course, Amazon probably won't roll out its selfie authentication feature tomorrow, so the company has time to plan for these contingencies.
There's no guarantee that Amazon's patent will be used to implement a pay-by-selfie feature. The company could very well have other plans for its technology, although it's difficult to imagine facial recognition authentication not being used to make purchases on the go when Amazon gets the ball rolling.
So, yeah, you'll probably be able to buy the next A Song of Ice and Fire book with a selfie. It's like we're living in a sci-fi novel, amirite? Now if only someone could develop a front camera that doesn't make me look like the love child of Ursula the Sea-Witch and Foul Bachelor Frog...
Images: Bustle; Giphy (2)