What you need to know
- Google's Password Manager gets new abilities.
- It can now be added as a home screen shortcut on Android Devices.
- The functionality comes after a recent Google Play Service update.
- Google also brings on-device encryption for its Password Manager.
Google now lets you add its Password Manager to your Android home screen alongside other apps. The ability comes through a Google Play Services update recently released to Android devices. The new feature lets you get into or access your passwords more swiftly rather than scouring through the device or Chrome settings whenever needed.
The service from the search giant may not be one of the best password manager options available — it is still secure, encrypted, and syncs through to your Google account. Users can easily access them as they like 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 (reports 9to5Google). After installing the update, Android users can access the Password Manager from their devices by navigating to Settings > Privacy > Autofill service from Google > Passwords. From there, click the Gear icon on top to enter additional settings, where one can find "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 appears clunky, but it is still worth an attempt as you would've to do it only once. While there is no possibility to add biometrics authentication to open the Passwords shortcut, you would still need the respective biometrics to check the stored login credentials.
The Google Password manager is indeed a nifty feature that gives you access to login to your banking sites, apps, services, and other crucial websites quite securely. Apart from offering to save passwords, the service can also generate a secure password or a key phrase to give you added security necessary for specific apps.
In other news, Google Password Manager has begun offering on-device encryption, offering users additional protection (via 9to5Google). This seems to be available for users visiting passwords.google.com or via Google Chrome.
On-device encryption is an added security measure that makes it so only the user can unlock their saved passwords on decides they set up, using either their Google account password or the screen lock option backed by biometrics/PIN/Pattern. Not even Google has access since they're stored on the device. However, Google warns that on-device encryption cannot be removed once set up, so users have to bear in mind they might lose access to all their passwords if they forget their account password.
You can visit Google's support page to set up on-device encryption, although it doesn't appear to be widely available just yet.
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Vishnu works as a freelance News Writer for Android Central. For the past four years, he's been writing about consumer technology, primarily involving smartphones, laptops, and every other gizmo connected to the Internet. When he is away from keyboard, you can see him going on a long drive or chilling on a couch binge-watching some crime series.