Published: Tue, August 13, 2019
Tech | By

Android users can log into some Google services using their fingerprint

Android users can log into some Google services using their fingerprint

Instead of using a password to log in, you can use the secure unlock method on your phone - for example, your fingerprint. This week, though, all phones with Android Nougat+ (and a fingerprint reader) will have access. It's rolling out the feature via a Google Play Services update to all Android 7 and above devices in the next few days. Many people tend to create simple passwords so they're memorable, but that also leaves them vulnerable to cracking when passwords leak.

To use the feature, Google notes that you'll need a phone running Android 7 Nougat or later, your phone will need to be logged in to your Google account, and you'll have to have screen lock set up.

These enhancements are built using the FIDO2 standards, W3C WebAuthn and FIDO CTAP, and are created to provide simpler and more secure authentication experiences. Using a password manager along with two-factor authentication helps mitigate a lot of these vulnerabilities, but the new method Google is using removes them entirely. Google said by using FIDO2, it can use the same authentication method both on the web and in the app.


However, local user verification is used for "reauthentication during step-up flows to verify the identity of the already signed-in user". On that note, you can check out the passwords you're now using for your accounts. The authentication happens on-device, only a key demonstrating the validity of your fingerprint is sent online.

This means you'll be able to sign in with either fingerprint scan, PIN number, pattern, or even a password - whatever option you use to unlock your phone. This service lets you manage all of the passwords that Chrome has saved for you. 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.

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