We’ve known for almost a year that Microsoft is building facial recognition technology into Windows 8, potentially offering a more secure (and fun) way to log into your computer. Now it appears Microsoft is getting closer to making this reality, according to websites that have published leaked early builds of the next-generation operating system.

A “detect human presence” API is in an early copy of Windows 8, according to an article on Slashgear which links back to leaked Windows 8 images published by Windows8Italia. Details are scarce, but this could be related to facial recognition technologies noted in mid-2010 in Windows 8 planning documents that Microsoft shared with partners.

After those planning documents were leaked last year, we reported the following: By 2012 sensors such as microphones, cameras, GPS, accelerometers, and temperature and magnetic sensors will be common in most PCs, allowing Windows 8 to interact with the user’s environment in new and interesting ways. One scenario uses facial recognition software to verify a user’s identity.

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