Google is building out passkey support into Android, though you won’t be able to use it yet without some tinkering. The search giant shared that it would be making the password-killing feature available for testing today for users on Google Play Services Beta or Chrome Canary, with general availability coming later in the year. Aside from Android and Chrome devices, passkeys also became available earlier with Safari on iOS 16 and macOS Ventura.
Passkeys are essentially intended to be a replacement for passwords. Rather than having to maintain an alphanumeric pattern for a particular site, however, they’ll be using the device you most likely have in your hand. By leveraging fingerprint or facial recognition support, or even pins, any operating system that supports passkeys will use your device to create a private key that interfaces with a service’s public key. Both keys combined will be your passkey. You can use passkeys alongside passwords, or in lieu of them. They’ll be stored on your device’s password manager, including Google’s own Password Manager and iCloud’s KeyChain.
“Passkeys are a significantly safer replacement for passwords and other phishable authentication factors. They cannot be reused, don’t leak in server breaches, and protect users from phishing attacks. Passkeys are built on industry standards and work across different operating systems and browser ecosystems, and can be used for both websites and apps,” Google explained in a blog post. The company also highlighted its significant ease of use as it co-opts the password flow that already exists on most smartphones.
Right now, passkeys will only really work with web apps on Android. That’s still pretty useful as you’re also able to sign into web apps on your PC if you have a passkey stored on your phone. Later, the company will let you create passkeys with native apps, and we’ll get one step closer to a more secure, passwordless future.
Passkeys aren’t the only security feature Google highlighted this week. The company went into detail about the Pixel 7 and 7 Pro’s new security features, including the Titan M2 chip, Tensor G2, and its new Protected Computing initiative, which these two chips help facilitate.
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