Android users can log into some Google services using their fingerprint

Logging into some Google services on Android is now as easy as unlocking your phone

Technically, the functionality can only be used to access one Google service for now: Chrome's built-in list of your saved passwords. In its place, users will only need to use their fingerprint to validate access to said services. Many people tend to create simple passwords so they're memorable, but that also leaves them vulnerable to cracking when passwords leak. When you visit Google Passwords or other select Google services on your mobile web browser (i.e. not an Android app), you will be able to authenticate your identity using your phone's screen unlock protocol.

Available today for Pixel devices and coming to all Android devices with a fingerprint reader and running Nougat+ in the next couple of days, you can now use your fingerprint to log into certain services when using Chrome for Android.

It's actually very secure as it's based on the FIDO2 standards, W3C WebAuthn, and FIDO CTAP.

Your fingerprint (PIN number, pattern or password) is really just tied to a unique private key also stored on your device, which performs the account unlocking process. Individuals are then asked to verify it's them by scanning their fingerprint.

The feature will continue to work for those who have two-factor authentication enabled on their account, by the way. The problems with passwords are numerous, but things are slowly changing with biometrics, hardware security keys, and so on. In this way, moreover, Google's servers will not get this data.

Once Google has credentials for a specific Android device, users can log in with their fingerprint to a compatible service. Now, for the first time, the company is bringing the same technology to logins on the web, starting with its password manager at password.google.com.

"This new capability marks another step on our journey to making authentication safer and easier for everyone to use", writes Dongjing He, software engineer, and Christiaan Brand of Google.

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