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Google adds passkeys to Workspace and Google Cloud in open beta

Google adds passkeys to Workspace and Google Cloud in open beta

Google is adding passkeys to some of its major platforms. Under the program, more than 9 million organizations can now allow their users to sign in to Google Workspace and Google Cloud accounts using passkeys instead of passwords.

This week Google announced that it was offering passkey functionality for the enterprise, extending an open beta program to its business customers using the Google Workspace and Google Cloud platforms.

Shruti Kulkarni, Engineering Manager and Jeroen Kemperman, Product Manager for Google Workspace, announced the introduction of the passkey feature in a blog post on Monday.

What are passkeys?

Passkeys are a passwordless sign-in method that offer “a convenient and secure authentication experience” across websites and apps, Google says. They allow users to sign in with a fingerprint, face recognition, or other screen-lock mechanism across phones, laptops, or desktops. Passkeys are based on an industry standard developed under the FIDO Alliance. They are available across popular browsers and operating systems that people use every day. These include Android, ChromeOS, iOS, macOS, and Windows.

Unlike passwords, passkeys don’t need to be remembered or typed. Additionally, they cannot be written down or accidentally given to an adversary. Passkeys are simply easier to use. Internal research has also shown that passkeys are two times faster and four times less error prone than passwords, according to Google.

In early May, Google made passkeys available as an additional sign-in option for personal Google Accounts. The new beta program unveiled this week brings passkeys to Google’s business users.

How it works

When a user signs in with a passkey to their Workspace apps, such as a Gmail or Google Drive, the passkey can confirm that a user has access to their device and can unlock it with a fingerprint, face recognition, or other screen-lock mechanism. The user’s biometric data is never sent to Google’s servers or other websites and apps.

Use of passkeys is not mandatory. Google explains that users can still continue using passwords to sign in to their work and personal Google Accounts. However, the tech giant adds that passkeys “can offer a simpler and more secure alternative and can reduce the impact of phishing and other social engineering attacks”.