It looks like Google is getting ready to bring biometric password management to the desktop. Code that was recently uncovered by Chrome Story suggests that Google wants to let users of its Chrome browser access their stored passwords with a fingerprint or face scan on their laptop or PC, so long as the modalities are supported.
The functionality revolves around Google’s password manager for Chrome, which lets users store their various password credentials for different online accounts within their Google account. Google’s aim is to back up that password-based security with biometrics, securing a user’s password vault behind a biometric scan.
In fact Google’s password manager already supports biometric security on mobile devices. The newly uncovered code simply suggests that Google now wants to bring that approach to security to the desktop, both for Mac and Windows devices.
The code was found in the Chromium Gerrit repository. Gerrit is a web-based code collaboration tool for development teams; Chromium, meanwhile, is an open-source web browser project that is principally managed by Google. Code being developed by the Chromium team and uploaded to its Gerrit account can therefore offer a reliable indication of what Google is planning in terms of forthcoming software updates.
Google’s move to further extend biometric security across its password manager tool is part of a broader trend, with other password management solutions such as 1Password, LastPass and NordPass also having implemented or expanded their own support for biometrics. With security experts having long argued against password-based security as being too weak while consumers have tended to stick to their most familiar passwords, the trend suggests a kind of compromise, with password manager tools recognizing the benefits of locking users’ passwords behind the security of biometric authentication.
Apple, meanwhile continues to lead the charge for mobile biometrics after pioneering fingerprint and then face-based phone unlocking on its own mobile devices. At its Worldwide Developer Conference last month the tech giant announced its new ‘Passkeys’, which are designed to enable iPhone users to easily access their online accounts through a biometric scan.
Apple, Google, and Microsoft all announced a partnership together with the FIDO Alliance and the World Wide Web Consortium, aimed at developing and implementing passwordless login standards that can operate across platforms, in May of this year.
Sources: Chrome Story, Android Police, Chrome Unboxed