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Google has announced that its apps and services will now be “password-free by default” in an effort to get all users to switch to passkeys.Thank you for reading this post, don't forget to subscribe!
The move is part of a broader consensus among the tech industry to eliminate passwords that have been in place since the 1960s and switch to a secure and more efficient format for verifying a person’s identity.
Passkeys combine a code with biometric information like fingerprint or facial recognition, making them easier to remember and harder to steal.
Google apps like YouTube, Search and Maps support the new format after it was first introduced earlier this year, although rollout is slower than expected.
The tech giant said the push to push users to adopt Passkey coincides with Cybersecurity Awareness Month, claiming the new technology is faster and more secure.
“They’re 40 percent faster than passwords — and rely on a type of cryptography that makes them more secure,” Google product managers Sriram Karra and Kristian Brand wrote in a blog post explaining the move.
“We will continue to encourage the industry to pivot to passkeys – making passwords rarer and ultimately obsolete.”
Google users who don’t already use a passkey will be prompted to set up one the next time they sign in to their account.
Passkeys have already been enabled by other online platforms, including eBay and Uber, as the tech industry looks to move away from traditional passwords altogether.
“We’ve seen great results from rolling out Passkeys across all of our apps and encourage all users to adopt Passkeys,” said Ramsin Betiussef, senior director of engineering at Uber. “Ultimately it’s a win-win for Uber and Uber customers.”
Google, which has billions of users across all platforms, acknowledged that “new technologies take time to catch on”, and so has given people the option to temporarily opt out of Passkey and use passwords wherever possible.
The company has not set a date for when passwords will be phased out completely, but some security experts argue that their demise is inevitable while hackers continue to exploit their vulnerabilities.
Helping to implement the change is the FIDO (Fast Identity Online) Alliance, which is working with Apple, Google, Microsoft, and hundreds of tech companies to develop the new login standard.
“The full transition to a password-free world will start with consumers making it a natural part of their lives,” said Alex Simmons, head of Microsoft’s identity program management team.
“By working together as a community across all platforms, we can finally achieve this vision and make significant progress toward eliminating passwords.”