Google’s Move Towards Passkeys: The End of Passwords?
The days of traditional passwords might be numbered as Google takes a significant step towards replacing them with passkeys. Google has officially made passkeys the default sign-in method for all personal accounts on its network. Passkeys are considered the “next evolution for online security,” replacing the conventional long passwords with a four-digit PIN or “biometric credentials.” These passkeys not only offer convenience but are also designed to reduce the risk of credentials being phished or targeted by cyberattacks.
How to Set Up Passkeys
Setting up a passkey is a straightforward process. Users can visit Google’s official passkeys website and create a PIN or link their biometrics (fingerprint or facial recognition) to their account. This streamlined process ensures that users can swiftly transition to the new authentication method. However, there are certain device and browser requirements to consider. Passkeys work on PCs running at least Windows 10, Macs with macOS Ventura, and smartphones with Android 9 or iOS 16. The supported browsers include Microsoft Edge, Safari, and Google Chrome, provided they are running the latest versions. For users who prefer not to use passkeys, there is the option to opt-out by toggling the “Skip Password When Possible” switch in the Sign-in options.
Google’s Motivation for the Change
Google’s decision to make passkeys the default sign-in method is driven by their popularity among users. Kimberly Samra, Google’s security communications manager, shared that 64 percent of those surveyed found the passkey feature “easier to use than traditional login methods.” Internal analytics also revealed that logging in with a passkey is “40 percent faster than” using a regular password.
The Expanding Reach of Passkeys
The adoption of passkeys is not limited to Google’s ecosystem. The company is collaborating with select “partners” across various industries to make the passkey system available in Chrome and Android. Passkeys are already present on platforms like Uber and eBay, and there are plans to extend their use to WhatsApp. Google’s broader objective is to encourage other platforms to transition to passkeys, with the ultimate goal of making traditional passwords obsolete.
Google Password Manager’s New Features
In addition to the shift towards passkeys, Google is enhancing its password management features to boost online security. Google Password Manager now has a dedicated space in Chrome on desktop, providing users with easy access to review their saved online credentials and modify password settings. Additionally, a desktop shortcut for Google Password Manager can be created for quicker access.
Biometric authentication, previously available only on mobile devices, will soon be introduced on desktops. Users can opt for an extra layer of security, requiring biometric authentication, such as fingerprint recognition or facial recognition, before Chrome autofills their passwords.
Google Password Manager is also introducing the ability to add notes to saved credentials. Users can add information such as pin numbers or account-specific notes to their saved login details.
For users looking to switch to Google Password Manager or try it out, the service now allows the easy import of passwords from other password managers. Users can export their passwords as a .csv file and import them directly into Chrome on their computers.
On iOS devices, Password Checkup will not only flag compromised passwords but also weak and reused passwords, providing users with a more comprehensive view of their password security.
Google Password Manager on iOS is also improving the user experience by offering a more prominent autofill prompt and grouping multiple saved accounts for the same website together.
Google’s move towards making passkeys the default sign-in method and the enhancement of Google Password Manager’s features are significant steps towards improving online security and reducing the reliance on traditional passwords. With the growing popularity of passkeys and their increasing presence on various platforms, it appears that the days of conventional passwords may indeed be numbered. Google’s focus on ease of use and enhanced security features is a positive development for users seeking a more secure and convenient online experience.
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