Events of the past year or so have really highlighted the importance of both our security and privacy, but the sad fact of the matter is, the majority of people don't take simple precautions to vastly improve either of those things. Take two-step authentication, for example. It's widely available, but not widely used.
A new consortium headed by Google and Dropbox aims to fix that. At this point, the joint venture is extremely modest, but it's in the midst of hiring people that will help get its show on the road. It claims, "We have expertise in usability research, design, software development, and product management, and are supported by a diverse set of advisors and partners." Also, to help understand what it might have in store, "In brief, we are a service organization. We’re here to help the existing open–source security community do what it does – better. We don’t want to own it, we don’t want to invent it. We believe in collaboration and portable resources, developed with a broad coalition of smart, enthusiastic practitioners."
A joint venture like this should have existed long ago, but based on what's said in the release, its existence really has a lot to do with the Snowden revelations from last summer. The recent celebrity photo leaks played a role as well. It's this groups goal to make security easier for the laymen, and it realizes that there are many challenges ahead. "No matter how effective security technologies are, people will not use them unless they become more accessible and easier to understand. We need simpler options for stronger security, available at our fingertips."
Simply Secure's website notes that many activities will be going on in the next couple of months, and it's clear that open source is going to be at the heart of it all, which makes a lot of sense given that "security and privacy technologies must be trustworthy".
Admittedly, even as someone who values privacy and security, I find myself often lazy and taking shortcuts. If there's one area where Google really wants to improve things, I'd recommend looking at its Android store. Today, way too many simple apps ask for a ridiculous collection of allowances. I am sure many consumers have been confused by that in particular, and simply hit the "Accept" button out of habit, not realizing what they're getting into. Nonetheless, it'll be interesting to see the fruits of this consortium's labor in the hopefully not-too-far future.