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

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.

source: Google via Android Central



1. gaming64 unregistered

I still prefer old-school password security and authentication.

2. Dewabener

Posts: 1; Member since: May 29, 2015

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

3. DirtyDan23

Posts: 280; Member since: Aug 12, 2014

I still prefer nifty

4. waddup121 unregistered

okay nice

5. BobbyBuster

Posts: 854; Member since: Jan 13, 2015

Project Whatever, Duke Nukem Whenever...

7. gaming64 unregistered

BobbyBuster logic: I'll comment whatever.

10. vergil9

Posts: 517; Member since: Apr 06, 2015

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

11. ohplease

Posts: 40; Member since: May 12, 2015

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

6. Elfmonster unregistered

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

8. blazee

Posts: 414; Member since: Jan 02, 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.

9. blazee

Posts: 414; Member since: Jan 02, 2012

If it would be constantly analyzing the user*

12. WindowsiDroid

Posts: 138; Member since: Jul 22, 2013

Google have more projects than my whole school year.

13. An.Awesome.Guy

Posts: 636; Member since: Jan 12, 2015

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

14. mrmessma

Posts: 271; Member since: Mar 28, 2012

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

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