There is one thing that mobile users universally hate: typing in passwords – but hopefully, Google is on its way to finding a way to kill them for good.
Daniel Kaufman, the director of Google’s Advanced Technology and Projects research unit (ATAP), updated us last week at the company’s I/O 2016 conference about Project Abacus, Google’s software-only plan to completely eliminate the process of entering passwords.
Already a year old, Project Abacus works by collecting data about the users, such as the particular locations and times they might use an app; it also knows the user’s face and voice for the Trust Score.
This feature is necessary to determine if it’s indeed you. If the accumulated data matches your traits, you won’t have to enter a password, and if not, well, you must type in a password. For financial apps, the Trust Score will have to be very high while games and productivity apps wouldn’t be as stringent.
Google’s team of machine intelligence engineers has now created the Trust API, which will begin the testing phase in June. If all goes according to plan, all Android developers will receive it by the end of the year. Last year, some 33 universities across 28 states ran their own trials.
Smart Lock is another attempt that Google had to make passwords redundant, which was introduced with Android Lollipop. Smart Lock allows users to automatically unlock their Android phones or tablets if they’re connected to a trusted Wi-Fi network or Bluetooth device.
Two-factor authentication is another secure method of logging in, which involves sending a unique PIN through an SMS message or email. While very secure, this method was deemed too time-consuming for the average user.
The greatest problem regarding passwords is that people are afraid they won’t remember them, so they tend to create simplified passwords. What’s even worse is that a lot of people will use the same (easy) password for multiple accounts, which increases their vulnerability to attacks.
Google wants to keep things simple, but more secure. “We have a phone, and these phones have all these sensors in them. Why couldn’t it just know who I was, so I don’t need a password? It should just be able to work,” explained Kaufman during a developer session at Google I/O.
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