Google’s Pixelbook 2 tablet could debut with fingerprint security

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Dan Baker/Digital Trends

Google’s next-generation Chrome OS-powered Pixelbook 2 may be borrowing some biometric security features from Windows Hello. The refreshed Pixelbook could appear as early as October 9 at Google’s hardware event in New York City, and will reportedly boast support for a facial-recognition scanner and fingerprint reader, according to code discovered in a developer build of Chrome OS. Biometric security could make it easier for Chrome OS users to log into their devices without having to fumble with typing in a password using the on-screen keyboard, especially when it’s used with a tablet.

Leaked code found within the Chrome OX 70 Developer Channel suggests that Google is working on adding biometric security support to its operating system, a feature that’s both supported by Windows Hello on Windows 10 and with the Touch ID sensor on MacOS. What’s interesting is that the code comes with an animated tutorial showing users how to register their fingerprint, and the animation features a rendered image of what appears to be a very specific tablet design, which is believed to be for a Google-made Chrome tablet called Nocturne.

google may add fingerprint scanner to pixelbook 2 tablet chrome os 70 dev render

“We assume that they will change this particular part of the setup based on the device, but the first device we know of getting a fingerprint scanner is ‘Nocturne’, the assumed detachable set to launch a month or so from now,” Chrome Unboxed said. The render shows the fingerprint sensor on a side edge of the tablet. The position of the fingerprint sensor may be justified given that the render depicts the tablet with extremely narrow bezels surrounding the display.

The referenced Nocturne device may be one of several Google-made Chromebook devices that may be unveiled in October under the Pixelbook branding. Nocturne is widely believed to sport a detachable form factor, similar to HP’s Chromebook x2, where the keyboard could be removed to allow users to use the Chromebook in a tablet form factor.

Developers stumbled upon the code for face unlock a few days ago, and the code mentions Intel’s Face Engine, which would give Chrome OS a similar facial-recognition camera that many Windows devices have adopted with Intel’s RealSense cameras.

Previous Chrome OS code revealed hints that Google may be giving the detachable and convertible form factors a push, including supporting a desktop mode whenever a Chrome OS tablet detects a keyboard and mouse.

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