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Google to kill off passwords


Google to kill off passwords

Search giant Google is planning to test out an alternative method to passwords in the coming months, in the hope of replacing them on mobile devices by the end of the year.

The company’s new idea was first introduced at its I/O developer conference and is known as ‘the Trust API’. This notion was created last year under the codename ‘Project Abacus’, which has the objective to eliminate passwords by offering a selection of other factors. These indicators will prove to an app or site that the user attempting to log in is who they say they are.

Alternatives that Google is set to test include some of the more obvious methods, such as biometric indicators like facial recognition and the detection of voice patterns. As well as this, there are some methods that may have been a little less obvious to some. These include the way in which a user moves, how they swipe the screen on their mobile device and their style of typing.

With the security programme continually running in the background of devices, the system would learn about the way the user interacts with the device, meaning that it gets accustomed to the way it is used, enabling these methods to work.

The alternatives don’t stop there; the Trust API could also calculate a trust score based on other variables, such as location and the Wi-Fi system that the device is connected to, giving Google scope to test out plenty of different alternatives to the common password.

Google has suggested that it would be ludicrous for any of these methods to individually replace passwords, but a combination of a few of them could result in something that could be more secure than the password.

It is believed that Google will begin testing these alternatives with a handful of large financial institutions next month and, according to Google’s Head of Advanced Technology and Projects, Dan Kauffman, Trust API could be available to all developers who use Android devices by the end of 2016.

It is not the first time that a tech company has attempted to seek an alternative to passwords. Apple has previously used fingerprint identification methods with the iPhone 5S.

This change could have a huge impact on businesses that rely heavily on passwords to protect their greatest assets. With the world of technology continuing to change, allowing some businesses to enable perks such as remote working for employees, a lack of password protected systems could cause a headache or two and would require employers to put a lot of faith in both Google and their employees.

Alan Littler

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