Google Taps Smartphone Authentication To Kill Weak Login Passwords

Password security is one of those things you either have or you don't. If you're password is a combination of alphanumeric characters and symbols with varying punctuation, congratulations, you're in much better shape than the guy who uses "12345," the same as found on his luggage. That said, traditional password input is becoming an antiquated way of locking down accounts, which is why Google is playing around with smartphone notifications.

This is something Yahoo is already doing with its Account Key service. Similar to that, Google is inviting some users to try out its new password-free option. The way it works is you enter in your email address when signing into your Google account. Instead of following that up with a memorized password, Google will send a notification to your smartphone asking if you're trying to sign in from a new device. If so, tap "yes" and you're in.

Password Meme

The downside is you'll need your smartphone handy, but if you're never far from it, this is a way of offering a higher level of security with little inconvenience. Yes, it might take a moment for the notification to arrive, but only a moment. Heck, it might take you longer to type in a long and complicated password.

For now, this is an invite-only trial.

"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," Google said in a statement.

It's still not a perfect system -- a lost or stolen smartphone could throw a wrench into the system, though if you've locked your phone down with Touch ID or a screen lock, you're probably okay. And if that happens, Google recommends signing into your account from another device and disabling access from the lost or stolen one.