Google to Start Testing Password-Free Android Logins


Google's war on passwords heats up this summer, when the company begins testing code-free access to user accounts.

Project Abacus—introduced at Google I/O 2015—is the search giant's effort to replace passwords with personalized biometric readings. It uses built-in sensors to track location, voice, speech, gait, and keystroke patterns, your face, and other factors, calculating a continuous "trust score."

The hope is to "get rid of the awkwardness of second-factor authentication," according to Dan Kaufman, director of Google's ATAP (Advanced Technologies and Projects) division, which is handling Project Abacus.

On stage at last week's Google I/O event (video above), Kaufman announced plans to visit "several very large financial institutions" in June for initial testing.

"Assuming it all goes well, this should go out to every Android developer by the end of this year," Kaufman said to a round of applause. "I cannot wait to see what you guys build with it."

Google has long investigated alternatives to passwords: In 2013, it unveiled a USB-based card from Yubico that would sign users into their Google account when inserted into a device.

Late last year, the company also beta tested a system that lets folks verify their identity via a smartphone. Instead of typing your email address and passwords, you enter just your email; Google then provides a secret code. Check your phone for a messaging asking if you're trying to sign in; press "yes," input the secret code, and you're in.

For now, check out PCMag's picks for Best Password Managers.

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