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Google's Project Abacus aims to replace password-based authentication systems

Posted: , by Mihai A.

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Google's Project Abacus aims to replace password-based authentication systems
Yesterday at the Google I/O conference, Google showed off a number of new features that are going to debut on Android M, such as a new power-saving mode, improved RAM management, support for fingerprint readers, or granular app permissions. Today, Google employees returned to the stage to introduce more futuristic tech developed by the ATAP team, such as smart clothing, a working version of Project Ara, and Project Abacus. The last one, Project Abacus, is a smart authentication system that aims to eliminate the password in future mobile devices.

Project Abacus does its magic by analyzing usage patterns. It looks at things such as the way you type, the way you move, the way you swype, and the apps that you usually use. On top of that, Abacus also uses biometric authentication tools such as voice and face detection. By combining all of those signals, the system tries to identify if the person currently using the device is actually the owner.

The trick here is getting all of these things to work together. While face detection can be easily fooled (at least for the moment), it's hard for a potential perpetrator to also mimic your voice and the way you use a device. Google says that Project Abacus is actually harder to fool than conventional authentication systems such as 4-digit passwords or fingerprint readers. 

However, since the device is constantly collecting and analyzing all sorts of data, battery life is likely to take a hit, but hopefully Google will find a way to optimize power consumption.

Today in a live demo on the Google I/O stage, Project Abacus was able to tell the difference between two separate users. Looking into the future, the system might actually go through some safety protocols when it detects that the device is not being used by its owner. At the moment, Google's ATAP team has yet to disclose when Project Abacus might make its way to commercial devices.

Google's Project Abacus aims to replace password-based authentication systems

source: Google via Android Central

14 Comments
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posted on 29 May 2015, 21:20 2

1. gaming64 (unregistered)


I still prefer old-school password security and authentication.

posted on 29 May 2015, 21:40 2

2. Dewabener (Posts: 1; Member since: 29 May 2015)


i still prefer 2-step authentication (token) rather than this one.

posted on 29 May 2015, 22:29 1

3. DirtyDan23 (Posts: 280; Member since: 12 Aug 2014)


I still prefer nifty

posted on 29 May 2015, 22:31 1

4. waddup121 (unregistered)


okay nice

posted on 29 May 2015, 23:30 2

5. BobbyBuster (banned) (Posts: 854; Member since: 13 Jan 2015)


Project Whatever, Duke Nukem Whenever...

posted on 30 May 2015, 06:32 9

7. gaming64 (unregistered)


BobbyBuster logic: I'll comment whatever.

posted on 30 May 2015, 08:37 4

10. vergil9 (banned) (Posts: 517; Member since: 06 Apr 2015)


Do not put BobbyBuster and logic in the same line please, JUST DON'T.

posted on 30 May 2015, 08:49 3

11. ohplease (banned) (Posts: 40; Member since: 12 May 2015)


At first I was just laughing on how stupid he is, now I just feel pity..

posted on 30 May 2015, 01:49 1

6. Elfmonster (unregistered)


I'm on board this multimedia extravaganza protection train on day one.

posted on 30 May 2015, 07:03

8. blazee (Posts: 414; Member since: 02 Jan 2012)


This could really be a ground breaking feature, if it would analyzing the user. Let's say the phone is unlocked and your friend or anyone else decides to use it without your knowledge. The phone could notice the wrong patterns and lock it self.

posted on 30 May 2015, 07:04 1

9. blazee (Posts: 414; Member since: 02 Jan 2012)


If it would be constantly analyzing the user*

posted on 30 May 2015, 13:08 1

12. WindowsiDroid (Posts: 138; Member since: 22 Jul 2013)


Google have more projects than my whole school year.

posted on 01 Jun 2015, 08:06

13. An.Awesome.Guy (Posts: 410; Member since: 12 Jan 2015)


And what if someone is ill, his voice would change, his movements will change.

posted on 01 Jun 2015, 13:43

14. mrmessma (Posts: 227; Member since: 28 Mar 2012)


What happens when I have 1 too many whiskey cokes? Does it lock the whole phone or only texting?

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