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Password Manager in Chrome is great for Android users with a caveat

Google introduced Password Manager in Chrome at the Google I/O 2021 event, stressing improved privacy and security. Is it enough?

Google Password Manager

Google Password Manager


Google surely got everyone’s attention for improving privacy among its products, especially for Chrome users. The Password Manager in Chrome looks appealing on paper and for us chaps who have a dozen social media accounts, this one basically makes us let the computer do the safety part while we focus on the content. And, it is probably the best thing to happen to Android users. Also Read - Pokemon Unite was the most downloaded mobile game globally in Sep with approx 33 million installs

Google may lead you to believe that their Password Manager is genius, using AI and Assistant to secure your accounts in a matter of seconds. However, this is something that iPhone and iPad users have been enjoying since September 2020. Moreover, this also means that Google is now tracking your passwords across the web, which again could be a concern for privacy freaks. Also Read - Vivo Y3s (2021) with MediaTek Helio P35 SoC launched in India, priced under Rs 10,000

So, what’s what with the Password Manager in Chrome? Also Read - Phones launching next week: Pixel 6 series, Samsung Galaxy S21 FE, Motorola Edge S, more

Password Manager: Already done by Apple

At the WWDC 2020, Apple announced a host of privacy features including a Password Manager for iOS. Basically, if you save your passwords via Apple’s system, your iPhone and iPad will keep a track of it. If the password is involved in a data breach, it will notify you of the same and suggest alternate passwords to secure the account.

Is it effective? I use an iPhone as my main phone and every two months, I see it throwing up notifications regarding compromised passwords for Facebook, Twitter, Microsoft account, and Reddit.

Once that happens, I head over to the Settings menu and iOS guides me to password changing pages of the respective accounts. It is helpful but for quickly securing the account, I have to follow the same age-old steps of logging in and follow a 15-minute process, depending on the individual website.

Google does it smartly

Google Password Manager

Google Password Manager

Google’s system showcased at the I/O 2021 in essence is similar to Apple’s way but there are some clever tweaks. In Chrome, you can check passwords for individual sites and if your password is detected as compromised, Google will immediately give an option to change your password.

Similar to Apple’s way, Google will take you to the website directly and assist you in changing it. In the wake of suddenness, you are bound to be confused with a new password, which is where Assistant comes in. Assistant will suggest a complex password immediately and fill in the boxes for you. Once done, it saves the new password, thereby driving your account away from harm.

Hence, the issue of worrying about changing passwords and remembering them is gone, sort of.

But there’s a caveat

Google Password Manager

Google Password Manager

If you read between the lines, the Password Manager is restricted to Chrome browser in Android. Hence, you will have to login to your social media accounts via the Chrome browser in order to avail the smart features. If you, like me, use your Twitter or Instagram via the app, you might be out of luck. Google hasn’t said anything about bringing this for universal apps. iOS 14 does this universally for all accounts that are logged in to your device.

Additionally, you will have to manually check for threats to your password instead, unlike iOS 14 that notifies you when something of that happens (what seems from the demo at I/O 2021). Hence, if you forget about it, there’s no way you could know about the threat until you login to Chrome and hit Check Password.

Conclusion

Password Manager is truly one of the best things related to privacy to happen to Android users in the recent years, along with Privacy Dashboard and indicators. However, compared to the solution on iOS, it is not enough for the challenging times we live in. In the broad picture, both of them need to embrace some of the smarter abilities from each other for a wholesome and easy experience.

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  • Published Date: May 19, 2021 1:18 PM IST



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