Google has taken a major step today towards a future without passwords. Your Google Account can now use passkeys instead of passwords to login to stuff. Since these should be “more convenient and safe” than traditional passwords, try to contain your excitement.
In a pair of blog posts, Google made the announcement about passkeys and your Google Account, saying that anyone interested in entering the world of passkeys can do so today. All you need to do is head over to g.co/passkeys to get started.
What is a passkey and why would choose this route over passwords? To put it simply, passwords are mostly bad. They can be hard to remember, bad actors can use them to login to your accounts from anywhere in the world at any time, and protecting them with things like 2-factor authentication still doesn’t fully protect them.
With a passkey, you’ll find them stored locally on a computer or mobile device. These passkeys can’t be written down or given away, because they only exist on devices. They can be synced between multiple devices, though, so if you create a passkey on an iPhone, it’ll be available on your other Apple devices. When you login with an Android device, that’ll also let that device be a passkey. You can revoke passkey access at any time too.
To use a passkey on a mobile device, you will likely find it super simple. When you attempt to login to Google from that device, it’ll ask to confirm that you are the person logging in and then require face unlock or your PIN or fingerprint. If you attempt from a computer for the first time that doesn’t yet have a passkey, Chrome can ask you to confirm a passkey from another device handy, like your smartphone before creating a passkey on that device.
I know that this might all be somewhat confusing and it will really only start to make sense if you give it a try. And don’t worry, Google will let you switch over to a password option on your Google Account if the passkey gets confusing or you can’t get it to work.
Also, you may want to read this longer explainer from Google about passkeys. It answered many of the questions I had.
Goodbye, Google Account passwords.