Back in September, we learned that Google was working on a “Human Presence Sensor” for future Chromebooks. At the time, we speculated that the sensor could be used to offer Windows Hello-like human detection feature and face detection. Now a new report has shed more light on how future Chromebooks may utilize this sensor.

According to 9to5Google, the Human Presence sensor will be used to power a new snoop protection feature on upcoming Chromebooks. Google will soon be adding a new flag in Chrome that will allow users to enable or disable the feature on supported devices.

The description for the flag reads:

Enables snooping protection to notify you whenever there is a ‘snooper’ looking over your shoulder. Can be enabled and disabled from the Smart privacy section of your device settings.

#snooping-protection

Snoop detection will be done through the Human Detection Sensor and your Chromebook’s webcam. Google would use the webcam footage to determine the presence of other people in the frame. This footage is stored and processed locally.

Lattice Semiconductor is one of the companies that Google is working with to develop the specialized hardware for the human presence sensor. You can check out an early demo of the hardware in the video below.

[embedded content]

If the user has snoop protection enabled, Chrome OS will provide a couple of options to receive alerts when someone does try to peek at your device. At the most basic level, it will show an eye icon in the status bar to indicate that someone might be watching your activity. If you want to be more cautious, Chrome OS can automatically dim your screen when it detects any snooping. Finally, the feature will also let you temporarily disable notifications in the event of peeking.

Snoop protection will be available on future Chromebooks featuring the Human Presence Sensor. But considering the technology is still a work-in-progress, we aren’t expecting supported Chromebooks to hit the shelves anytime soon.