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Trusted Voice: a secure way to unlock your Android by talking to it?

Google’s new ‘Trusted Voice’ function allows users to unlock their Android phone or tablet just by speaking to it, and it’s rolling out now. But is it secure, and when will your Android device get it?

Trusted Voice was first spotted in the recent Google Play Services update, though it wasn’t a working function at the time. However, now users are starting to see a fully functional version appearing on their Android smartphones, giving them yet another alternative to the bog-standard PIN for staying secure – albeit a rather lightweight one.

The service allows users to issue commands to their Android device when it’s locked simply by saying “OK Google”. Upon hearing its master’s voice, the phone or tablet should instantly wake up, ready for action. But if Android doesn’t recognise the voice, it’ll stay locked up.

As you would imagine, this isn’t the most secure of options and could reasonably be defeated by a semi-decent impression of the owner. Google acknowledges this and even displays a warning when you attempt to switch it on for the first time, but for anyone who uses voice commands a lot it could be considered worth the risk. It’ll be especially handy for anyone who’s on the road a lot, who needs to bark commands while keeping their hands on the wheel and eyes on the road.

The new Trusted Voice feature joins Trusted Face, Trusted Devices and Trusted Locations, and serves to underline the search giant’s continued commitment to security. That said, Google’s recent ‘on body detection’ feature actually makes Android phones less secure, appealing to our inherent laziness while making thieves’ lives easier.

If you haven’t seen Trusted Voice crop up on your Android gizmo yet, don’t despair. It’s looking like a phased rollout which has only arrived on some stock Lollipop devices so far.

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