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Google Announces Seamless Passkey Upgrade Experience for Pixel Users

Passkey on Google Pixel

Google has announced a new feature for its Google Password Manager that will allow Pixel phone users to easily upgrade their online accounts to passkey.

The new "passkey upgrade" experience is now available on Pixel phones starting from the Pixel 5a, as well as the new Pixel Tablet.

Passkeys are a passwordless authentication method that uses public key cryptography to verify a user's identity. They are considered more secure than traditional passwords, which are vulnerable to phishing, data breaches, and credential stuffing attacks. Passkeys also remove the burden of having to create and remember complex passwords for every online account.

With the new passkey upgrade option in Google Password Manager, Pixel users will be prompted to upgrade eligible online accounts to passkeys as they sign in. The password manager will guide users directly to the passkey signup page, eliminating the need to dig through account settings to find the passkey option.

"Google Password Manager will let you discover which of your accounts support passkeys, and help you upgrade with just a few taps," said Google in its blog post announcing the feature.

Google has partnered with several major online platforms and services to support passkey upgrades through Password Manager, including Adobe, Best Buy, DocuSign, eBay, Kayak, Nintendo, PayPal, Uber, and Yahoo. Google says support for TikTok passkey upgrades is coming soon.

This collaboration will allow Google Password Manager to detect when a partner platform supports passkeys and seamlessly direct users to enable them. The open technology powering this upgrade experience means any website, app or password manager can implement it.

The launch on Pixel devices builds on Google's ongoing efforts to drive the adoption of passkeys as a safer and easier alternative to passwords. The company has implemented passkey support in Android, Chrome and across Google Accounts. Passkeys are also being promoted as a default option during account creation on Google services.

"It's all part of Google's commitment to help make signing in easier and safer," said the company in its announcement.

Passkeys leverage public key cryptography to provide secure credential authentication. During account signup, a cryptographic pair of public and private keys is generated. The public key becomes the user's passkey and the private key is securely stored on the user's device.

On subsequent logins, the website or app will request the user's public passkey and the device signs the login request with the matching private key. This allows the account provider to verify the user's identity without handling or storing a password.

Because passkeys rely on securely stored keys tied to a specific device rather than a string that can be phished or leaked, security experts consider them much more resistant to common attacks plaguing password-based authentication. Users also don't have to memorize any secrets or manually type in codes, providing a frictionless login experience across websites and apps.

Pixel users can check for available passkey upgrades in Google Password Manager by going to Settings > Google > Security > Password Manager > Passkeys. The feature will also prompt users during account sign-in if a passkey upgrade is possible.

Google plans to expand passkey upgrade support beyond Pixel devices to more platforms in the future as it continues its mission to make passwordless authentication the new standard.

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