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Not password! Google brings in ‘passkeys’ for Chrome users; Here’s what it is

American technology giant Google has introduced a new feature for its Chrome users. After going through a testing period in October, Google made “passwords” available to Chroma users this week. Passkeys are a significantly more secure replacement for passwords and other phishable authentication factors.

Here’s everything you need to know about Google Chrome’s access keys:

What are access keys?

Passwords are usually the first line of defense in our digital lives. However, they run the risk of being phished, leaked in data breaches, and even suffering from poor password hygiene. Google has long recognized these issues, so Google has developed defense mechanisms such as 2-Step Verification and Google Password Manager.

But to address security risks, the company decided to move to passwordless authentication. This is where access keys come in.

Passkeys cannot be reused, do not leak on server breaches, and protect users from phishing attacks. Passkeys are based on industry standards, can be used across operating systems and browser ecosystems, and can be used with both websites and apps.

How can access keys be used?

One can use passkeys to log into sites and apps that support them. If you log in with a password, you must authenticate in the same way you unlock a device.

At the moment, Chrome has passkeys enabled on Windows 11, macOS, and Android.

On Android, passkeys are synced securely through Google Password Manager or, in future versions of Android, any other password manager that supports passkeys.

Once you have a passkey saved to your device, it can show up in autofill when you log in to help you be more secure.

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On a desktop, one can choose to use a password from a nearby mobile device.

A password does not leave your mobile device when you log in this way. Only a securely generated code is exchanged with the site, so unlike a password nothing can be leaked.

To give users control over access keys, Chrome M108 allows you to manage your access keys from Chrome on Windows and macOS.

Google allows users to sync their passwords from Android to other devices using the company’s own password manager or a compatible third-party password manager such as 1Password or Dashlane.

Separately, Chrome recently announced two new performance modes for its desktop web browser. The two modes are Memory Saver and Energy Saver which extend battery life and free up memory.

Google suggests that these new modes will allow users to reduce Chrome’s memory usage by up to 30% and extend battery life when a device is running low on power.

At the moment, both modes have been launched for Chrome desktop (m108), but will eventually be accessible worldwide.

According to The Verge, when Memory Saver and Energy Saver arrive on your device, you can find them in the three-dot settings menu in Chrome. Both functions can be enabled or disabled independently of each other.

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