Could Google’s ‘trust score’ replace your Android password?

Smartphone passwords could soon be a thing of the past with Google Trust software that can verify your identity and log in for you…

02 Jun 2016


Google trust score

Say goodbye to passwords with Google’s ‘trust score’

These days we use our smartphones for everything from making calls and messaging friends, to online banking and paying for the things we buy. So it’s pretty annoying having to enter a password or PIN every time you want to unlock yours or open an app.

Now, Google may have found a solution with a new mechanism that collects data on how you use your Android phone – and uses it to verify your identity.

Instead of entering a password or PIN code, you can unlock your phone or sign into apps based on how high you rank on the ‘trust score’. The idea is that rather than the user being responsible for proving their identity, your phone will be able to recognise if you are who you say you are.

As Daniel Kaufman, director of Google’s ATAP division, put it: “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? It should just be able to work.”


How does it work?

Whenever you’re on your phone, Google’s Trust API (a special type of software) runs in the background and gathers information on how you use your device. All of this is then used to feed into the trust score.

Everything from your location and how close you are to recognised Bluetooth devices and Wi-Fi hotspots, to your typing pattern and face could be used to prove your identity and let you log in.

It’s likely that different apps will require a different level of security – so a mobile banking app or email account could require a higher trust score than a game.

Right now it’s being trialled with several banks before a wider roll out, and developers should be able to start using it in their apps by the end of the year.


The future is… password-less?

This isn’t the first attempt by Google to get rid of traditional passwords. It’s already created Android Smart Lock – which lets you unlock your device just by swiping in certain scenarios. For example you can program it to work in pre-set locations, if you connect to a familiar Bluetooth device, or using facial recognition technology (known as Android Face Unlock).

Windows has also developed facial recognition software, which works with Hello and RealSense cameras. The cameras can recognise your face – allowing you to log on just by looking at your device.

Find out more about how Windows 10 facial recognition passwords work.

And in the meantime, you can still boost your security by choosing a strong password.

Follow our tips for protecting your device.

See our full range of smartphones.