Google is working to allow Android developers to replace passwords with biometrics. Should testing go well, the developers would have access to the technology by the end of the year.
Project Abacus, as the effort is know, would use a "Trust Score" rather than traditional passwords to unlock devices or sign into applications.
Since it first premiered last year, the search and machine intelligence groups at Google have made Project Abacus into a "Trust API," which a number of banks are now testing, according to Daniel Kaufman, the head of Google's Advanced Technology and projects research unit.
Kaufman announced the update to Project Abacus at the I/O developer conference on Friday.
"Several very large financial institutions" will start testing the technology in June, Kaufman said. "And assuming it goes well, this should become available to every Android developer around the world by the end of the year."
Google said the trust score would be based on a numbers of unique identifiers, possibly including things like voice and facial recognition, location, usage patterns and speed, according to a TechCrunch report. Project Abacus would run in the background, constantly collecting data about the user to generate its score. If the score isn’t high enough, the device would ask for passwords instead.
If Project Abacus proves successful, there is potential it could be used in other devices beyond Android.
Last month’s Verizon’s annual Data Breach Digest found that 80% of data breaches involve exploitation of stolen, weak, default or easily guessable passwords. Today’s cybercriminals have numerous ways to discover login and password information, and the typical employee tends to re-use passwords or make them too easy to guess, prompting several companies to look for new approaches.
For example, in October, Yahoo announced it was eliminating traditional passwords for its mail app. Instead, mail app users on both iOS and Android had access to a new service called Yahoo Account Key. The service uses smartphones to verify identities instead of traditional passwords.