Google adds passwordless sign-in to Workspace and Cloud accounts

Google has taken a significant step toward a passwordless future with the start of an open beta for passkeys on Workspace accounts. Starting today, June 5th, over 9 million organizations can allow their users to sign in to a Google Workspace or Google Cloud account using a passkey instead of their usual passwords.

Passkeys are a new form of passwordless sign-in tech developed by the FIDO Alliance, whose members include industry giants like Google, Apple, and Microsoft. Passkeys allow users to log in to websites and apps using their device’s own authentication, such as a laptop with Windows Hello, an Android phone with a fingerprint sensor, or an iPhone with Face ID, instead of traditional passwords and other sign-in systems like 2FA or SMS verification. Because passkeys are based on public key cryptographic protocols, there’s no fixed “sequence” that can be stolen or leaked in phishing attacks.

Google isn’t ditching passwords just yet, but Workspace and Cloud users can now use passkeys as an alternative sign-on method.Image: Google

Passkey support for Workspace administrators, who have the authority to enable passkey sign-on within their organizations, will be gradually rolled out over the next few weeks. The ability to skip passwords is disabled by default and must first be enabled by administrators. Even when disabled, however, users will still be able to create and use passkeys for 2FA authentication.

It’s hoped that passkeys will eventually replace passwords entirely, but that’s going to take time. Adoption has been steady, though, with passkey support embraced by platforms like Apple and Microsoft and password managers like Dashlane and 1Password.

Today’s announcement follows passkey support being introduced to standard Google user accounts back in May. The Chrome web browser was also updated with passkey support in December, though passkeys can only be used on third-party sites and services that have rolled out their own support for the passwordless tech. That’s a relatively short list right now — 1Password is keeping track of which sites and services support passkeys if you want to stay up to date.