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Chrome just added a great new way to protect your passwords

Chrome will soon let you use biometric data to autofill forms online, according to Chrome Unboxed. This is something Safari has allowed for years on Mac, but if you use Chrome, you must confirm the details by reentering your password or receiving two-factor authentication notifications on another device.

The password flag was spotted in the Chromium Gerritt repository as an alternative way to authenticate yourself when autofilling your passwords stored in Chrome. It’s not meant to be a replacement, and when it does roll out to the public, it appears to be a setting you need to turn on. That could change between now and then, of course.

The Google Chrome logo on a black phone which is resting on a red book
Deepanker Verma

This new flag is in addition to a similar Chrome flag spotted a month ago which allows you to use biometric data to view your passwords stored in Chrome.

Right now, when you want to view a password saved in Chrome, or autofill your password on a web form, you will get a prompt you to reenter your computer password if you’re using Windows or Mac. It will ask you to enter your Google password if you’re using a Chromebook. This process can be cumbersome, especially when you can already use your fingerprint on Safari on Mac or Windows Hello on compatible PCs. Chrome will follow suite and allow you to do the same.

Windows computers with fingerprint hardware will work the same way, and the flag will be available to all Chromium-based browsers, such as Microsoft Edge. The flag will also work with face unlock, or you can assign a four-digit PIN if your computer doesn’t have biometric capabilities. This will also work on compatible Chromebooks.

This new Chrome flag will make things a whole lot smoother while improving security. Anyone who gets access to your computer or Google password still won’t be able to access your entire list of passwords with this biometric authentication enabled.

This flag also works for autofilling sensitive contact and credit card details. For example, when making a purchase online, you can receive a prompt to unlock the autofill with your fingerprint, and once authenticated, Chrome will input your details. This includes your credit card information, although you’ll still need to enter your three-digit security code manually.

Overall, this new flag will make using Chrome on your MacBook or Windows laptop a whole lot easier. It is not currently available on either the stable or beta versions of Chrome, and there’s no timeline for when you can start using it. Stay tuned and we’ll let you know the moment it drops.

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Nathan Drescher
Nathan Drescher is a freelance journalist and writer from Ottawa, Canada. He's been writing about technology from around the…
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