It could soon become easier for Android users to securely log in to Web accounts. Starting today, Google is rolling out a service that lets people on version 7 and later of Google’s mobile operating system use their device’s fingerprint or screen lock instead of a password when visiting certain Google services.
For now, the service is available only for Google’s Password Manager property, and even then it’s only when people are using select Android models. Over the next few days, the feature will be available to all Android 7 and above devices. Google has no timeline for when people will be able to use the feature when signing in to Gmail, other Google properties, or for non-Google sites.
The new sign-in method uses the industry-wide FIDO2, W3C WebAuthn, and FIDO CTAP standards jointly developed over the past few years by a long list of companies. The standards are designed to wean the world off its reliance on passwords by making it easier to use other authentication factors such as physical security keys, fingerprints, or other biometrics.