No More Snooping; Future Google Chromebooks may detect human presence

By Arya M Nair, Intern Reporter
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Chromebook
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The tech giant, Google is reportedly working on a new feature for its Chromebook laptops that will detect if someone is looking at the laptop’s screen over your shoulder.

According to reports, future Chromebooks will include a detector called Human Presence Sensor. It will determine whether or not a human is visible to the Chromebook’s camera. Google has been working on this sensor for a while as part of its efforts to enhance the privacy features.

A new Chrome flag, the experimental features which aren’t part of the default Chrome experience, revealed how Chromebooks will use Human Presence Sensor to detect snooping. ‘Snooping protection’ feature will notify the user whenever there is a ‘snooper’ looking at the screen. It can be enabled and disabled from the Smart privacy section of your device settings.

Chrome OS, a Gentoo Linux-based operating system designed by Google, can show a simple eye icon in the corner of the screen to signal that you’re potentially being watched. If you wish to have your work immediately hidden from others, Chrome OS’s snooping protection can automatically dim your screen when it detects someone else.

Additionally, Chrome OS will be able to temporarily turn off notifications when someone else is staring at the screen in order to keep your private conversations private. Users’ Chromebooks would essentially use camera footage to identify how many people are visible using face authentication.

Google is yet to officially announce the feature, but it is expected that Chromebooks with Human Presence Sensor may not launch until 2022 at the earliest, reports say.

Related: Google, AFP sign 5-year deal for online news content


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