Password-Free Logins May Come to Android Before End of 2016

Lock Screen Android 6 0 Marshmallow AH 0030

How many times have you forgotten your password? It’s likely happened to all of us a few times, or even more times than we care to admit. We’ve seen various services come around which look to replace the password. One good example of this is “Smart Lock” which is built into Android. Smart Lock can keep your lock screen of your Android device unsecured while you’re in a specific area, connected to a specific Bluetooth device or when touching an NFC sticker. It’s simple, but works really well.

Last year, Google unveiled Project Abacus at the ATAP breakout session at Google I/O. This is ATAP’s ambitious project to allow users to unlock things using something other than a password. You would be signing into applications using a cumulative “Trust Score”. This is calculated using a few different things. Like your typing patterns, current location, speed and voice patterns, facial recognition and a few other things. Project Abacus runs in the background and is continually collecting data about you. Which is how the Trust Score is formed. This score basically shows how confident the device is that you are you. As you’d expect, if your score isn’t high enough, apps will revert to asking for the password. Seeing as it’s not quite sure that you are who you say you are.


ATAP’s new head, Daniel Kaufman, stated that the engineers in Google’s search and machine intelligence groups have worked together to turn Project Abacus into a “Trust API”. Kaufman also stated that this API is going to be going into testing at some banks beginning next month. He didn’t mention which banks, but did note “several very large financial institutions” will be testing it. Kaufman is hoping that the testing will go well and if it does, he said that the API will “become available to every Android developer around the world by the end of the year.”

We may see the ability to login to apps and our devices, without needing a password, pretty soon. Which is definitely exciting. Of course, developers will need to build this into their apps and games. Obviously it won’t be supported on every app all at once. As was the case with the Fingerprint API in Android 6.0, this Trust API is going to have to be supported on an individual app basis.