No more passwords with Google's Trust API

Machine intelligence from Project Abacus uses will verify your identity

Google remains on its quest to replace passwords with something more secure. The latest effort is from the company’s Project Abacus, which favors a system of biometrics to authenticate identity.

The head of Google’s ATAP (Advanced Technology and Projects) unit Daniel Kaufman offered some additional details during a late Friday session at Google I/O. The concept is that users would be able to unlock devices or sign into apps based on a “Trust Score” derived from their usage patterns. This could include speech and voice similarities, facial recognition, typing methods, and even Google’s smart clothing effort Project Jacquard. This would create a “Trust Score” that would open the gates to the app for those who pass the authentication test.

All of this would factor into a Trust API that developers could then implement into their apps to authenticate one’s identity. The goal, according to Kaufman, is to make the capabilities available to Android developers by the end of the year. The threshold required for a trust score could be set by the developer, with a higher point total needed for something like your banking application.

Project Abacus is already in trial with 33 universities, and banks will begin testing it out next month.

Why this matters: Google really doesn’t like passwords. The company’s Smart Lock is one stab at getting rid of them; it creates an automatic login for apps through your Google credentials, though it hasn’t been implemented that widely. While much of this is probably the right direction for a more secure future, your best bet in the near-term is probably to go with a password manager.

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Derek Walter

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