Tech

Google's latest move allows Android users to forget some passwords forever

Google's latest move allows Android users to forget some passwords forever

As reported by The Verge, the search giant has begun to let Android version 7 (and up) users verify their identity on some Google services (via Chrome) using non-password authentication methods. What's new here is being able to use that same fingerprint to log in to one of Google's web services within the Chrome browser. Many people tend to create simple passwords so they're memorable, but that also leaves them vulnerable to cracking when passwords leak.

According to a support page on the company's website, Android users can now use their smartphone's screen lock sign-in interface to verify their identity when logging in to Google services on another device. In this case, the key will sign an authentication request to your web account with Google's password manager. The device must have a valid screen lock like a fingerprint scanner, a PIN or a pattern lock. Google said by using FIDO2, it can use the same authentication method both on the web and in the app.

Your fingerprint is never sent to Google's servers - it is securely stored on your device, and only a cryptographic proof that you've correctly scanned it is sent to Google's servers.

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Security keys on other hand can be used to set up a new device, like an Android phone, as part of a two-step verification process to ensure it's the right owner of the account accessing it. Google is using security keys as part of its Gmail Advanced Protection Program. First, your device must be running Android Nougat or higher and contain your Google Account. At the moment, you can use the functionality to view and edit the passwords that Google has saved for you at passwords.google.com, but Google says it plans to add the functionality to more Google and Google Cloud services in the future.

Not everyone may like the idea of Google using biometrics for login purposes.