what you need to know
- Google Password Manager gets new capabilities.
- It can now be added as a shortcut to the home screen on Android devices.
- The functionality comes after a recent update to the Google Play service.
- Google also offers on-device encryption for its Password Manager.
Google now allows you to add its Password Manager to your Android home screen alongside other apps. The capability comes via a recently released Google Play Services update for Android devices. The new feature lets you enter or access your passwords more quickly instead of digging through your device or Chrome settings when needed.
The search giant’s service may not be one of the best password manager options available: it’s still secure, encrypted, and syncs through your Google account. Users can easily access them however they want on both platforms, Android or iOS (from the Chrome app).
For the new capability, Android users would have to update Google Play Services to version 22.18 (9to5Google reports). After installing the update, Android users can access Password Manager from their devices by navigating to Settings > Privacy > Google AutoFill Service > Passwords. From there, click the gear icon at the top to enter additional settings, where you can find the “Add shortcut to your home screen” option. The last part is relatively similar to adding a web page to your screen from the Chrome browser.
The process seems clunky, but it’s still worth a try as you’d only have to do it once. Although there is no possibility to add biometric authentication to open the Passwords shortcut, you will still need the respective biometrics to verify the stored login credentials.
Google password manager is indeed a nifty feature that gives you access to log in to your banking sites, apps, services, and other crucial websites quite securely. In addition to offering to save passwords, the service can also generate a strong password or passphrase to give you the extra security needed for specific applications.
In other news, Google Password Manager has started to offer on-device encryption, giving users additional protection (via 9to5Google). This appears to be available to users visiting passwords.google.com or through Google Chrome.
On-device encryption is an additional security measure that only the user can unlock their saved passwords when they choose to set them up, using their Google account password or the biometric/PIN/Pattern backed screen lock option. Not even Google has access as they are stored on the device. However, Google warns that encryption on the device cannot be removed once set up, so users should be aware that they may lose access to all of their passwords if they forget their account password.
You can visit Google’s support page to set up encryption on your device, though it doesn’t seem to be widely available yet.