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Password-free Logins to Android Apps Coming Soon

Punching in passwords in the small mobile screen is a nuisance, and Google wants to eliminate the same. Google I/O announced its plans to bring a password alternative called “trust score” that will authorise a login based on various data points.

Project Abacus, as it is called, was initiated last year, to secure users and devices by generating a continuous “trust score” that monitors the user’s activities throughout the day and making sure that the device and app is used by the intended user. To create a system that will be more secure and useful that the PIN system or the finger print system, Google partnered with universities and various experts from these top universities to conduct a three-month long research – during which data from 1500 donors were collected and experimented. According to Google, the current system in progress will be 10 times more secure than the fingerprint systems.

The “trust score” is calculated by monitoring several activities of the user such as typing patterns, typing and navigation speed, the current location of the user, facial recognition, voice patterns, and so on. The score is cumulative and the less suspicious the activities are, the greater the score will be. The required trust score could vary with different apps and certain apps may require a much higher trust score than others. For instance, bank apps may require a greater trust score to be able to unlock without a passcode. If the score is not high enough, apps will prompt for passwords. On the contrary, if the user’s activities show clean slate, accessing apps will be cakewalk. Sure, this will take away the burden of remembering and typing passwords; but it is still not sure how error-free the entire system can be.

Google had previously implemented “smart lock” that unlocks devices if in a trusted location with a trusted Bluetooth device. Unlike smart lock, the Trust API runs in the background of the user’s device and continuously monitors its sensors and information to provide the apps with the present trust score.

Dan Kaufman, head of ATAP Google, said that it would be available to every Android developer by the end of the year. The system could change the way users interact with apps on their devices and provide a more secure and systematic process of securing and interacting with devices and apps.

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