The end of passwords? Google rolls out huge new feature

Innovation

The tech juggernaut has been working alongside Apple and Microsoft to bring the passkeys feature to its platform as an alternative to traditional passwords.
POLAND – 2023/01/20: In this photo illustration a Google logo seen displayed on a smartphone. (Photo Illustration by Mateusz Slodkowski/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

May the 4th is World Password Day, but Google envisions that by this day next year, you may not need to use a password – or perhaps even remember it – at all.

The tech giant has revealed that for the first time, it’s begun rolling out support for passkeys across Google accounts on all major platforms.

Passkeys are a relatively new kind of login credential that remove the need for passwords and replace them with biometric authentication, like a fingerprint or facial recognition, or a PIN code. Google claims passkeys are more secure than traditional passwords, because they are based on public key cryptography.

“Unlike passwords, passkeys are resistant to online attacks like phishing, making them more secure than things like SMS one-time codes,” Google’s blog post read.

Google said passkeys would now be an additional option that people could use to sign-in alongside passwords and 2-step verification. It first rolled out passkey support on Chrome and Android devices in October last year, but now the option is available across all Google accounts like Gmail and Drive.

“Over the past year we’ve shared updates on bringing passkey experiences to both Chrome and Android, which services like Docusign, Kayak, PayPal, Shopify and Yahoo! Japan have already deployed to streamline sign-in for their users,” the blog post read.

“Starting today [May 3], this will be available as an option for Google Account users who want to try a passwordless sign-in experience.”

Over the course of the coming year, Google will roll-out further updates to bring us towards a ‘passwordless future’. Eventually, when you sign into a website or app on your phone, you will simply unlock your phone — your account won’t need a password anymore.

To sign into a website on your computer, you’ll just need your phone nearby and you’ll be prompted to unlock it for access. Once you’ve done this, you won’t need your phone again and you can sign in by just unlocking your computer.

“Even if you lose your phone, your passkeys will securely sync to your new phone from cloud backup, allowing you to pick up right where your old device left off,” Google says.

Google has been working towards a passwordless future for over a decade. In fact, it first introduced Google Password Manager back in 2008.

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