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Sign in to Google services with just your fingerprint

Forgetting your password can be such a pain. With so many websites and services online, who has time to remember all of their important logins for every single destination on the web?

Thanks to Google’s latest authentication feature, you don’t have to – at least, for some of Google’s specific sites. If you’re someone who’d prefer to use biometric information such as your face or fingerprint to log in to your accounts, you’re in luck.

Google is letting you do just that with a new way to log in to your Google accounts – provided you’ve got the means to do it.

Google lets you use biometrics to sign in to select services

Google will now let most Android users running Android 7 or later log in to a smattering of services with just a fingerprint instead of a password. Of course, you need to have a compatible phone or tablet that can work with this feature.

Google previously announced in February that devices with Android 7 and above are now certified under the FIDO2 standard, which essentially means users should no longer have to rely solely on passwords to keep their devices secure. In tandem with a service called WebAuthn, the days of having to memorize a string of text and symbols should effectively be over.

If you want to take part in this new service, you must also have a personal Google Account on the Android device you’re using, but that’s a standard requirement in order to be able to use most Android devices to their fullest, anyway.

According to Google, you don’t have to stay with the fingerprint option, either — when you have it set up, you can opt between using your pin to get into your phone or even inputting a pattern like you’re used to. It’s really up to you — this new age is all about giving users choices and not restricting them to patterns or PINs.

Using the fingerprint method also removes some of the security concerns that come along with simply using a password. It’s a lot harder to spoof a fingerprint than it is to brute force a password or guess a pattern.

Fingerprints are also nearly impossible to phish out of would-be identity theft victims’ accounts that fall victim to data breaches. It’s much less likely to have your fingerprints for sale on the dark web than your passwords.

How to set up fingerprint biometrics

(Note: These instructions may vary depending on your Android phone make, model and operating system.)

If your phone has a fingerprint sensor, you can use your fingerprint to unlock your phone, authorize purchases and unlock certain apps.

Here are the steps to set up your first fingerprint:

  • Open your phone’s Settings app
  • Tap Security & location
  • Tap (Phone Model) Imprint
  • Follow the on-screen steps. If you don’t already have a screen lock, you’ll be asked to add a backup PIN, pattern, or password
  • Scan your first fingerprint. Suggestions:
    • Put your finger on your phone’s sensor (not its screen)
    • Hold your phone as you’d normally hold it when unlocking. For example, hold your phone with its screen facing you.

Congratulations! Now you’re well on your way to a more secure and reliable suite of Google services on your Android phone! For more ways to use your fingerprint as security, tap or click here and you’ll see a list of instructions from Google.

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