Google To Offer Location-Based Security Settings For Unlocking Androids

Google To Offer Location-Based Security Settings For Unlocking Androids

Now that we use our smartphones for everything from keeping in touch with our friends and family to banking to storing sensitive data, security has never been more important.

It’s no secret that the Android platform has come under fire for its security vulnerabilities, however, it seems that Google has big plans for improving security measures for Android devices. Based upon a patent submitted by Google (via Engadget), it looks at though the company is exploring location-dependent security settings for the unlock feature, which would improve the security settings when a user is outside the safety of their home.

Google wants to make the locking process for a user’s device much more intelligent, by using your smartphone or tablet’s in-built location services to determine where you are, and based on that information adjust the security settings. So for instance, if you are using the device in a familiar place such as your home, the device will register this and allow you to use whatever authentication you would like, such as merely swiping to unlock. However, if it detects you are in an unfamiliar place, you can set the device to use a more secure authentication process such as a password or a pattern.

The patent also outlined a possible provision for setting up a second ‘familiar’ area. This offers up a whole range of possibilities for setting different security settings, which would mean you could differentiate between home, work and public places.

It’s unclear at present how many times you would have to use your phone in a specific location until the device recognises it as a familiar place, or whether you could set the locations manually. However, one aspect of this feature that may turn away users is the fact that you would be required to have location services active all the time, which would not put strain on your device’s battery life, but also engender some privacy concerns with regards to location tracking.

While there are quite a few apps on the Google Play store that already offer similar functionality such as Llama or Tasker, which enable you to automate actions based on your location, adding this as a built-in feature will help users keep out strangers, particularly in public places, while making it more convenient for user at home.

What are your thoughts on location based security?