Google’s plan to eliminate passwords in favor of systems that take into account a combination of signals – like your typing patterns, your walking patterns, your current location, and more – will be available to Android developers by year-end, assuming all goes well in testing this year. In an under-the-radar announcement Friday afternoon at the Google I/O developer conference, the head of Google’s research unit ATAP (Advanced Technology and Projects) Daniel Kaufman offered a brief update regarding the status of Project Abacus, the name for a system that opts for biometrics over two-factor authentication.
As you may recall, Project Abacus was first introduced at Google I/O last year, where it was described as an ambitious plan to move the burden of passwords and PINs from the user to the device.
Today, secure logins – like those used by banks or in the enterprise environment – often require more than just a username and password. They tend to also require the entry of a unique PIN, which is generally sent to your phone via SMS or emailed. This is commonly referred to as two-factor authentication, as it combines something you know (your password) with something you have in your possession, like your phone.