Google Is Gearing Up To Kill Your Email Password

An experimental new feature indicates Google wants to free us from the tyranny of passwords.

Google Is Gearing Up To Kill Your Email Password
[Photo: Roman Drits via Barn Images]

Imagine, to paraphrase one of the Beatles, a world with no more email passwords. Fine, John Lennon never said that–but if the legendary songwriter were still alive, he would be 75 years old, and the last thing he would want to think about is email or passwords of any kind.


Truth be told, few of us would miss alphanumeric passwords if we found an alternative. Google is working toward just such a password-free future, one that would better ensure the security of our accounts. The company is testing a new, multi-device method for letting people log into their accounts without using a password, according to TechCrunch.

The experimental feature–which was first discovered by a Reddit user and then confirmed by Google–lets users log into their Google account on one device by tapping a button on their phone when prompted. The method is similar to the two-factor authentication approach, which introduces an additional step for security purposes, but it shaves off precious seconds by bypassing password entry.

To truly eliminate passwords, companies like Google and Yahoo–which already offers a password-free login option for its email service–will have to not only iron out potential security kinks, but also ensure the system is foolproof. Right now, these systems still rely on an alphanumeric password as a fallback, but it’s easy to imagine how biometric login methods like fingerprint or retina scanning could phase out old-fashioned passwords in due time.

Users will still have the option to enter their password if they so desire. For now, the new authentication method is an invite-only beta program on iOS and Android. But presumably, as the kinks are ironed out, Google will open it up to more users. Until then, the password-averse among us will just have to keep using our imaginations.

[via TechCrunch]

About the author

John Paul Titlow is a writer at Fast Company focused on music and technology, among other things.