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Galaxy S3 Smart Stay: Anyone Else Slightly Disturbed By this Feature?

Authored by: Steven Blum — May 21, 2012

Smart Stay is a new feature on the Galaxy S3 that turns off the phone when you're not staring at it. The feature seems to work VERY well, as you can see in the demo below. But how are we all not just the tiniest bit freaked out that Samsung will now be tracking our faces every time we stare into the screen of the Galaxy S3?

Granted, I have never played around with the Galaxy S3. I do not know if the facial recognition software simply tracks my eyeballs or somehow takes continues shots of my entire face. But when app developers are getting run out of town for installing facial recognition technology in bars, perhaps this feature could lead to a backlash. Face Unlock is one thing; Smart Stay remains in operation the entire time you're using the device.

When you take a photograph and Samsung's sensor scans your friend's faces and sends them a copy of the picture, that's a conscious use of facial recognition technology. But when the technology is used all day long, I can't help but wonder what Samsung will be doing with all the information. I'm NOT saying they're up to anything sinister, just that it's a bit creepy.

What do YOU think?

Steven Blum has written more than 2,000 blog posts as a founding member of AndroidPIT's English editorial team. A graduate of the University of Washington, Steven Blum also studied Journalism at George Washington University in Washington D.C. for two years. Since then, his writing has appeared in The Stranger, The Seattle P-I, Blackbook Magazine and Venture Villlage. He loves the HTC One and hopes the company behind it still exists in a few years.

6 comments

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  • toni simard 11 months ago Link to comment

    I'm confused. Why is it we allow them to watch our every move?

    I'm sending this phone back.

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  • beau jangles Dec 23, 2012 Link to comment

    Very weird. This feature might do more than that dm @ephdat

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  • Fahad Ayaz May 21, 2012 Link to comment

    @Steven That's not exactly how the technology works. If it was watching your face the whole time, that would be a huge drain on battery. Smart Stay works by taking an image just before the screen is about to go off (however long you set this to be) and because the camera has no shutter lag, it can do this almost immediately.

    It doesn't send any data to any servers. ICS has built in camera APIs to manipulate certain parts of the face/image/video. You can see this on plenty of videos showcasing the ICS video camera. All Samsung have done is taken the part that deals with the eyes and queries whether an eye has been found and if it's looking towards the screen. If so, it stays on. Simple!

    Other manufacturers could easily do the same thing, or possibly it could be made into an independent app. Also, don't forget that the feature can be disabled totally if you're still not comfortable with it. Now go and enjoy your Smart Stay! :)

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  • Steven Blum May 21, 2012 Link to comment

    @Frank, but if it's recording even when you're not staring at it, it'll be recording a lot more than faces.

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  • Ti Mo May 21, 2012 Link to comment

    i dont see the demo below..

    And does that mean, that if I watch porn on my S3, technichally, Samsung could see me jerking off?

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  • Frank Bouwens May 21, 2012 Link to comment

    I don't see the problem.

    Your phone knows way more (and worse) things about you.
    Like all your emails, what sites you have visited.
    It likely already knows your face (if you turned on face-unlock).

    The time and date where you had your eyes open is the least of your concerns.

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