Google Project Abacus To Replace Android Passwords With Biometric And Environmental ‘Trust Score’

Using passwords as a form of security may not be long for this world, not if Google gets its way. The Mountain View outfit's ATAP (Advanced Technology and Projects) division is hard at work on Project Abacus, a scheme that relies on biometric data to determine a person's identity rather than relying on traditional password input.

Project Abacus

Core to Project Abacus is a "Trust Score" that takes into account a variety of factors. One of the biggest ones is your physical location, though it's far from the only way Project Abacus calculates the likelihood that you are who you claim to be. It also analyzes things like how you type and speak, facial recognition, and so forth.

"Last year we talked about Project Abacus. This was Deepak Chandra's vision to get rid of passwords," Daniel Kaufman, head of ATAP, said at Google I/O. "He thought, 'Gee look, we have a phone and these phones have all these sensors in them. Why couldn't it just know who I was so I don't need a password, I should just be able to work.' Well thanks to our friends at Research & Machine Intelligence, they've taken these ideas and they've turned into a Trust API."

The premise here is that just by being ourselves, our smartphones should be able to verify who we are based on our own creature habits. Generating a Trust Score would replace the "awkwardness of second factor authentication" so that we could go about our daily business and just do things rather than be tasked with memorizing passwords, verifying our identity through multiple protocols, and so forth.

Starting next month, Google's going to make its Trust API available large financial institutions for initial testing. Assuming that goes well, it will be available to all Android developers around the world by the end of the year.