Security is the buzzword these days and passwords are one royal pain in the you know what. Even locking your phone is a pain. That is why I like Apple’s implementation of the fingerprint scanner. However, Google might be headed in a completely different direction. As you know Google has embraced Near Field Communications (NFC) for a few years now, while Apple doesn’t even talk about it.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Google is testing an NFC security token. Hardware tokens aren’t anything new. Most traditional versions generate random numeric passwords, but the user has to retype them each time they want to login. This form, created by Yubico, Inc., could work by simply touching it to your Android phone or tablet using NFC or it could also be used as a USB plugin on your desktop or laptop. Google would use this token to log into Gmail and other Google services. I should note that Yubico already offers the YubiKey (pictured above) and can be used just like what I described. It can actually be used with Gmail’s 2 step verification. How Google will change it, remains to be seen, but WSJ says Google “plans to offer to consumers” next year.
Employees at Google are testing it out now for a possible 2014 release. Director of security engineering at Google Mayank Upadhyay said, “We believe that by using this token we’ve raised the standard of security for our employees beyond what was commercially available. The token works with Google’s Web browser Chrome, and works very seamlessly for people in their day-to-day workflow here at Google.”