Google will soon introduce biometric authentication to the Chrome Autofill feature on Android devices, in a bid to make conducting online purchases via its browser more convenient and secure.
Users will still need to input their information manually when using a credit card for the first time but, for future purchases, Chrome for Android will allow users to bypass CVV checks and authenticate transactions using face ID or fingerprint alone.
Google Chrome will also apply a similar process to logging into online services. The new touch-to-fill feature will bring up a list of accounts attached to the webpage a user is currently browsing and allow them to verify their identity using biometrics.
Google Chrome Autofill
Beyond the obvious convenience benefits, the Chrome Autofill upgrade also delivers an important boost to security.
Previously, an unauthorized third party with access to a device could gain entry to the owner’s online accounts via the Autofill feature (which required no additional authentication). Using biometrics, however, puts paid to this possibility – unless twins are involved, of course.
For security conscious users, the common advice was never to use a browser’s autofill function and opt for a secure password manager instead. But with the imminent upgrade to Chrome for Android, it’s possible account credentials will be just as safe stored in-browser.
To ensure sensitive biometric information remains secure, Chrome utilizes the WebAuthn standard when registering fingerprint and facial data. Google has also assured users that biometric data will always remain on-device, never transmitted to the cloud.
The new feature also significantly reduces the risk of falling victim to elaborate phishing scams. While a fake landing page hosted on an illegitimate domain might deceive an unwitting user, the browser itself will not be so easy to dupe.
Already available on Chrome for Mac and Windows, biometric authentication is set to land on Android devices within the next few weeks.