Remembering passwords was always a nuisance, and these days, when a secure password has at least 20 characters and resembles the product of a cat walking over a keyboard, it’s worse than ever.
Google has an idea how to fix this, and it includes using your phone to log into your account.
It works as follows: After the initial setup on the phone, when you try to log into your Google account on another device, you only need to enter your email address. A notification on your phone asks for confirmation that this is really you signing into your account; once you approve, you’re in.
The new feature was first reported by Reddit user Rohit Paul, and Android Police confirmed with Google that the new feature is being tested with a small number of users on iOS and Android.
“We’ve invited a small group of users to help test a new way to sign in to their Google accounts, no password required. ‘Pizza’, ‘password’ and ‘123456’—your days are numbered,” a Google spokesperson said in a statement.
The method is similar to the two-factor authentication Google users can enable to confirm their identity when logging into their account on a new computer, with the difference being that you never have to type a password. While that might sound less secure than two-factor authentication, things improve if you’ve protected your phone with a fingerprint, password or a PIN lock, making it hard for someone to easily log into your Google account even if they get a hold of your phone.
In an email to users, Google explains how the feature works in detail. For example, even if you’ve enabled the feature, you can still log in with your password by choosing the “Use your password instead” link at the bottom of the page. If Google notices something suspicious about your login process, it might ask you an additional question or two to make sure it’s really you. And if you lose your phone, you can sign in on another device, go to My Account and remove account access from the phone you’ve lost.