Google wants to use your Chromebook’s camera to help combat shoulder surfing

Pretend you’m James Bond, even if you’re just sitting in a coffee shop

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Unlike most Android tablets, Chromebooks provide amazing productivity machines from the moment you open the box. This probably explains why they have been adopted by both schools and office workers, and offers a simple user interface at a low access cost. If you’ve had your eyes on a Chromebook for work, you may want to wait to buy one, as future models may come with some enhanced security.

We’ve known that Chromebooks with a human presence sensor or “HPS” have been around for a while now, with several entries listed in Chromium Gerrit. In September, evidence began to emerge that HPS could work with face locks to help strengthen your computer’s security, with other uses – including presence detection – also listed. A new report from 9to5Google gives us a little more insight into another benefit of this sensor.


An upcoming flag for Chrome will let users enable “snooping detection”, enable HPS to determine if anyone is looking at your screen over your shoulder. Google would use webcam on a Chromebook to track the number of people in the frame and respond accordingly, depending on your preferences. Everything is determined locally so that your surroundings – and your face – are not uploaded to the cloud.

Once a snooper (a Snoopy?) Has been detected, there are a few actions that Chrome OS can take. If you just want to know when someone is behind you, a small eye icon can appear in the status area of ​​the display, warning you of your surroundings without constantly having to keep an eye on your back. It can also turn off notifications or automatically dim your screen to prevent it from being seen, saving all your precious trade secrets and detonation codes from falling into the wrong hands.

Even if you are not a super spy or a senior official, it would be a handy tool to have the ability to protect what is on your screen from unwanted eyes. As for when supported laptops may hit store shelves, you may want to wait to buy a new Chromebook soon. Machines with this kind of technology are not expected to be launched until sometime next year.

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