Previous Google Pixel devices could be unlocked with a user-matched, recognized voice saying OK Google. The Google Pixel 3 does not have said functionality. Instead, this device does something just a little different. This device brings Google Assistant functionality to the lockscreen, before the phone needs to be more fully unlocked.
There’s nothing inherently wrong about this situation, mind you – Google doesn’t seem to have made a mistake here. The people that won’t be pleased are those that’ve owned a Pixel in the past and were using the voice unlock mode regularly. For everyone else, this is simply an addition of functionality – or a switch in the way the same feature worked in the past, here now in the present.
Google included the following on a support page for the Google Pixel 3:
On Pixel 3 phones, you can’t unlock your phone by saying “Ok Google.” Instead, you can use the Google Assistant on your lock screen.
This update brings Google Play Music to the lock screen, able to be controlled by the OK Google voice-matching action that – for a while – wasn’t present even past the lock. So the difference here for Google Music subscribers is positive – more functionality.
The Pixel 2 retains its Unlock with Voice Match feature, for now.
SEE MORE: Our Google Pixel 3 Review Users can still “Say “OK Google” to unlock your device and access your Assistant directly.” With the Google Pixel 3, users have two options in Settings they can toggle. One is called Access with Voice Match, the other is Lock screen personal results.
Access with Voice Match says the user can access their Assistant any time they say OK Google “even if your screen is off or you’re using your favorite apps.” Lock screen personal results suggests the user can “use Voice Match to access personal results like email, calendar, contacts, and reminders when your phone is locked.”
In a way, this new system creates two levels of locks over the heart of the Google Pixel 3. Sort of like a main door (the phone lock) and a mini-door (the Personal Assistant). As noted by 9to5Google’s Ben Schoon, “Given Google’s clear focus on security with these new phones, this seems like the best reason to replace Pixel 3 voice unlock.” Two locks are better than one!