Google released passkey support for developers on Android and Chrome as a part of its effort to increase the adoption of passwordless authentication.

Passkeys are a widely accepted alternative to traditional authentication passwords. Google, Apple, and Microsoft all announced intentions to shift to passkeys in May, with Apple unveiling the feature for Safari at its Worldwide Developers Conference in June.

Passkeys aim to address the issue of passwords being vulnerable to hackers and cumbersome to manage. A passkey allows users to sign into a website or application without entering a password.

An industry standard

In May, Google product director Sampath Srinivas explained that users would only need access to an unlocked phone to access applications on various other devices.

The passkey technical standards are vendor-independent and were established by two industry organizations, the FIDO Alliance and the World Wide Web Consortium. Google, Apple, and Microsoft played essential roles in the standard’s development.

Google announced that users can now generate and utilize passkeys on Android devices. Additionally, the WebAuthn API allows developers to add passkey support to apps on Chrome, Android and other platforms.

Passkeys have a familiar format

Passkeys follow previously established patterns and expand on the the Google Password Manager, an existing tool. Using a passkey is analogous to a saved password.

Developers can test the functionality immediately by enrolling in the Google Play Services beta and employing Chrome Canary. Later this year, the functionalities will be generally available on stable channels.

Google announced that its next goal is a passkey API for native Android apps, to be released in 2022. Passkeys generated using the web API will work with applications from the same domain and vice versa.