Google has begun testing a password-free login method that enables users to log in using their smartphones.
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Google is experimenting with a password-free login method. A new feature promises to let you enter your account with a smartphone and skip the less-secure requirement of typing a password.
The idea is that users will begin the login process on the PC, but authorize the login through smartphone notification. It promises a more secure way to access Google accounts without using two-factor authentication.
This update comes from a Reddit user who wrote about his firsthand experience. Rohit Paul, or rp1226, received an email from Google inviting him to test the new login process on his personal device, along with a select group of account holders.
According to Paul, you must first authorize your phone to enter the Google account. When you type in your email on the Google sign-in page, you'll receive a notification on your smartphone that will ask you to approve the login.
When you tap "yes," the computer will access your Google account -- no passwords necessary. Once your phone is authenticated, you'll be able to enter your account on new devices by using your smartphone.
In the event your phone is lost, dead, stolen, or forgotten, you have the option to access your account via regular password login. For an added security step, Google will prompt you to enter your password if it notices something strange about your login method.
"We've invited a small group of users to help test a new way to sign-in to their Google accounts, no password required," a Google spokesperson said to VentureBeat. "'Pizza,' 'password,' and '123456' -- your days are numbered."
This is Google's latest attempt to eliminate the traditional password, which it believes is a poor means of securing user accounts.
In a study released in May 2015, the tech giant revealed that even users' security questions are not secure enough to be used for account recovery. Most people can't remember the answers when they need to, and oftentimes hackers can guess the answer to questions like, "What's your favorite food?" (Pizza, of course.)
(Image: Rohit Paul/Reddit)
Earlier this year, Google aimed to improve security by launching a Chrome extension called Password Alert. The tool is built to protect user accounts by alerting them when they enter a Google Account password or a Google for Work password anywhere other than a Google login page.
Google also allows users to access their accounts through two-factor authentication, but it will need a simpler and faster method if it wants to convince the masses they should abandon their longtime password login. This new method could fit the bill.
It should be noted that the new login feature currently works for both iOS and Android devices. It's currently undergoing testing by a small group of Google users.
If you want to improve your account security but weren't invited to test out Google's newest experiment, you could opt to download a password manager. These mobile apps are designed to create and store secure passwords across all your devices.
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Kelly Sheridan is Associate Editor at Dark Reading. She started her career in business tech journalism at Insurance & Technology and most recently reported for InformationWeek, where she covered Microsoft and business IT. Sheridan earned her BA at Villanova University. View Full Bio
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