Google Services Going Passwordless on Android

Joanna Estrada
August 12, 2019

"An important benefit of using FIDO2 versus interacting with the native fingerprint APIs on Android is that these biometric capabilities are now, for the first time, available on the web, allowing the same credentials be used by both native apps and web services". Your fingerprint or screen unlock system authenticates you on-device and then simply communicates with Google's servers with an "authentic" or "not authentic", which means Google never sees your fingerprint, password, etc. Once there, Chrome will prompt you to authenticate your identity using your phone's fingerprint sensor. The authentication happens on-device, only a key demonstrating the validity of your fingerprint is sent online. What's more, there's nothing additional to set up for this new feature: it just works. This week, though, all phones with Android Nougat+ (and a fingerprint reader) will have access.

If you want to try this out for yourself, the feature is rolling out to Pixel devices right now and will be made available to all Android phones running 7.0 Nougat or later "over the next few days". Note that if you don't have a fingerprint associated, it still works via screen lock. The company is finally making it so users will be able to use their device's hardware features to login onto their personal accounts on Google services. A fingerprint isn't a hard requirement, but it is a lot easier than tapping out a PIN/password or pattern.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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