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Google cripples Voice Match feature

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Remember when Google removed the ability to use Voice Match to get past the lock screen on the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL? Well, 9to5Google now reports that Google has removed the aforementioned function from Voice Match for every Android device.

Instead of fully unlocking your device, Voice Match now presents you with a list of “personal results” from Google Assistant. The possible verbal and visual responses include emails, Google Calendar entries, contacts, reminders, memory aids, and shopping lists. If you want other results or full access to your phone, you’ll have to unlock the handset like you usually would.

The idea behind deprecating the “Unlock with Voice Match” feature is probably to enhance security. When you enabled the feature previously, a pop-up message warns that it’s not a secure feature — a similar voice or recording of your voice could unlock the device.

Also, taking away the unlocking ability means that Voice Match on now replicates the behavior found on Google Home speakers and Smart Displays.

At the same time, eliminating Unlock with Voice Match also removes any thoughts you had about using your device entirely hands-free. Even if you say something as innocuous as “play music,” you’ll need to unlock the device for the command to go through.

You don’t have any say in the matter if you want to retain Unlock with Voice Match — its removal is part of a server-side update, not as an update to the Google app. Once you get the update, open the Google app and go to More Settings > Google Assistant > Phone. You should now see the “Unlock with Voice Match” toggle replaced by a “Lock screen personal results” toggle.

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