Personal.com’s new Fill It app makes quick work of long online forms

Personal Fill It launch

As amazing as the Web is nowadays, there is one area that remains a relic of the past: Online forms. Shopping for car insurance, applying for a new credit card, replacing your driver’s license – all these activities and many more require us to go through the arduous task of filling in our personal information. It’s tedious, time-consuming, and a downright bore. Luckily, online data vault provider Personal.com has the answer we may be looking for.

It’s called Fill It, a Web app that works by allowing you to save all of your personal details, everything from usernames and passwords for online accounts to Social Security Numbers of family members, into your Personal.com online vault.

Once you have your Fill It account up and running, install the browser bar bookmark button. As you encounter new forms and enter your personal data, Fill It will automatically save this information to your Personal vault. (You can also manually enter your credentials into Fill It through the online dashboard.) After you have saved a relevant bit of personal information into Fill It, just click the Fill It browser button, and the info will automatically appear in the relevant form fields.

In order to achieve the form-completing wizardry of Fill It, the Personal team has analyzed thousands of different form types, and “taught” Fill It’s algorithms how to properly input your data. This, however, is no easy task, since there are almost as many form types as there are websites that use forms. For example, some online forms break up telephone numbers into three separate fields, while others have a single field. The same goes for credit card numbers, SSNs, driver’s license numbers, names, and more.

“We don’t expect a person to have 12 different versions of their Social Security Number on file,” says Personal co-founder and CEO Shane Green. “People are going to enter one, and Fill It is going to be smart enough to translate [which version a specific form requires], and get it right when it inputs it into the form.”

Fill It currently supports more than 5,000 different types of data fields, says Green, who expects that number to grow “by tens of thousands of fields this year and hundreds of thousands of fields more after that.” Green says Personal will also help make Web forms better overall by providing website operators with the HTML code necessary to input a Fill It-optimized form.

After an hour-long demo of Fill It, I was beyond convinced of its value, especially after having spent more than two hours shopping for new motorcycle insurance a week before (sans Fill It, of course). But despite the usefulness of Fill It, I still had two areas of reservation: Is my data private, and is it secure?

On the first point, Green is especially confident: “We do not contractually or legally share your data in anyway,” he says. “Our entire mission is to aggregate and protect your data, and then set permission to it in the way that you choose.”

Green says that Personal “never even sees the data” you input into Fill It or other parts of your Personal vault. And it’s all heavily encrypted. “We don’t know what your Social Security Number is, or how much income you have, or how tall you are,” he says.

As for the security, Green says they could not be doing more on the backend to protect your sensitive information.

“We are a company that cannot even get to your data ourselves,” he says. “We’ve protected you even from us. We have done everything that we know how to do [to keep your data safe].”

There is one security weak spot, however: The Personal.com login page. If someone gains access to your personal account, well, you’re probably screwed. This is a vulnerability Green and his team fully recognize, and one they plan to fix when Personal comes out of beta by instituting multi-factor authentication. But for now, we’re stuck with regular ol’ passwords as the only barrier between our most-sensitive information and the bad guys.

To try out Fill It, click here.

Emerging Tech

Shipping crate filled with 3D-printing robots may be the future of construction

Autodesk has created a robot-filled shipping container which may represent the future of construction work. The crate contains two robots able to 3D print custom components for building sites.

Protecting your PDF with a password isn't difficult. Just follow these steps

If you need to learn how to password protect a PDF, you have come to the right place. This guide will walk you through the process of protecting your documents step-by-step, whether you're running a MacOS or Windows machine.

Data stolen from HealthCare.gov includes partial SSNs and immigration status

Around 75,000 users have had their user data stolen from government site healthcare.gov, including information on their immigration status, whether they were pregnant, and partial social security numbers.

Here are the best iPad Pro keyboard cases to pick up with your new tablet

The iPad Pro range can double as laptops, but they do need proper keyboards to fill in effectively. Thankfully, there are loads to choose from and we've rounded up the best iPad Pro keyboard cases right here.

How to change your Gmail password in just a few quick steps

Regularly updating your passwords is a good way to stay secure online, but each site and service has their own way of doing it. Here's a quick guide on how to change your Gmail password in a few short steps.

Need a free alternative to Adobe Illustrator? Here are our favorites

Photoshop and other commercial tools can be expensive, but drawing software doesn't need to be. This list of the best free drawing software is just as powerful as some of the more expensive offerings.

Google honors Veterans Day by highlighting military service stories

For Veterans Day, Google is honoring the heroes that served the country with a new Google Doodle that highlights the stories of five veterans from the five different branches of the military.

Edit, sign, append, and save with 12 of the best PDF editors

There are plenty of PDF editors to be had online, and though the selection is robust, finding a solid solution with the tools you need can be tough. Here, we've rounded up best PDF editors, so you can edit no matter your budget or OS.
Emerging Tech

Alibaba’s Singles’ Day sale smashes online shopping records

The annual online shopping frenzy that is Singles' Day this year raked in $30.8 billion, up from $25 billion last time around. The Alibaba-organized event generates more in sales than Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined.

Apple to boost its Amazon presence with listings for iPhones, iPads, and more

Apple is about to start offering more of its kit on Amazon. The tech giant currently only has very limited listings on the shopping site, but the deal will see the arrival of the latest iPhones, iPads, MacBooks, and more.

If you've lost a software key, these handy tools can find it for you

Missing product keys getting you down? We've chosen some of the best software license and product key finders in existence, so you can locate and document your precious keys on your Windows or MacOS machine.

Will Chrome remain our favorite web browser with the arrival of newest version?

Choosing a web browser for surfing the web can be tough with all the great options available. Here we pit the latest versions of Chrome, Opera, Firefox, Edge, and Vivaldi against one another to find the best browsers for most users.

Zoom in on famous works through the Art Institute of Chicago’s new website

Art lovers, listen up. The Art Institute of Chicago has given its website a serious makeover with new features that let you get up close and personal with more than 50,000 artworks by famous (and not so famous) artists.

Over a million veterans now eligible for Comcast’s Internet Essentials program

Comcast's low-cost Internet Essentials program, which provides internet access for just $10 per month, has expanded to include U.S. veterans. One million veterans now qualify for the service.