Google is combining all of its login and identity solutions into a single platform today under the ‘Google Identity Platform‘ moniker. What’s more interesting than that, though, is that Google is launching the Smart Lock Passwords Manager today, which will make it easier for users to sign in to third-party Android apps that implement this service.
Smart Lock for Passwords is essentially a password manager for Android apps and the web that’s built into your Google Account.
On Android, this service basically does what Chrome already did on the web, but for apps. Say you want to log in to the New York Times app — which is one of the launch partners for this service. After you’ve signed in, Smart Lock will ask if you want to save the password to your account. Then, when you get a new device that you’ve signed into with your Google account, the app will already know your NYTimes password and pre-fill your credentials for you — just like you’d expect on a website.
Any developer who wants to implement this feature can do so with the help of the new Smart Lock API for Android. Google argues that this will help apps and sites increase their sign-up and sign-in rates — and given how annoying it is to enter passwords on mobile, that’s probably true.
Besides the New York Times, Google also worked with Eventbrite, Instacart, Orbitz, LinkedIn and Netflix to pilot this project. Netflix, it seems, plans to support this on Android TV, too, where entering passwords is also quite a hassle, after all.
Google says it plans to add support for sync pass phrases on Android — letting you encrypt your passwords so Google can’t read them — and the API will soon support other platforms, as well.