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Google's Pixel 6 fingerprint reader is rubbish because of 'enhanced security algorithms'

Move over 'dog ate my homework', there's a new excuse in town

Google has come up with a cast-iron excuse for why the fingerprint sensor on its latest Pixel 6 series of smartphones appears to be so unreliable – and you're going to love it.

The Pixel 6 and 6 Pro came out in the UK on 28 October, but something that has struck reviewers about the otherwise highly recommended mobe is a recalcitrant fingerprint unlock.

Engadget described the under-screen tech as "slow and finicky", CNET as "frustrating and not a very good experience", and Tom's Guide as "slower than other phones."

While all agreed the Pixel 6/Pro is Google's best phone and decent value for money, it wasn't just the critics who were bothered by the multiple attempts it can take to get into the damn thing.

As spotted by Android Authority, a user wrote to the Made By Google Twitter account: "I do love my new Pixel 6, but the fingerprint sensor is ruining my experience. More often than not I touch the sensor 6 or 7 times before it makes me enter my pin. I'm holding out for a software fix but it's something that would make me get rid of it if it persists."

They received this response:

Not a "Sorry, we're working on a fix" in sight, just three little words that sound cool but on their own mean next to nothing.

"Enhanced security algorithms."

Another unchuffed customer had similar complaints. "Please fix this," they pleaded. "The fingerprint scanner is absolutely frustrating. I cannot recommend this phone to anyone because the execution of the fingerprint scanner is completely amateur."

Google's answer? You guessed it.

Intrigued, The Register enquired about said "algorithms" to try to pry some insight out of the omnipotent, omnipresent, omnibenevolent ad leviathan, and asked why such a feature would prevent the owner from unlocking their phone instantaneously. Like most other smartphones on the market. We also asked whether the mooted "software fix" was possible without compromising the "enhanced security" of the "algorithms."

Rather than answering, Google's press office directed us to the tweet embedded above. Nice.

As Android Authority noted: "It's a rather interesting reason for an iffy in-display fingerprint sensor experience, but we can't say for sure whether Google's solution does indeed have improved security over rival smartphones."

Perhaps Reg readers could take a leaf out of the Chocolate Factory's book. If Google can wave away complaints with vague jargon, surely you can too.

Software project running behind schedule? "We're implementing the enhanced security algorithms."

Deleted a database? "Gah, must have been the enhanced security algorithms."

Couldn't be bothered to finish an assignment? "The enhanced security algorithms ate my homework."

Let us know how you get on. ®

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