While Google has come under fire from privacy groups in recent months, the fact remains that on balance, the company is working hard to improve overall user experience on the web and provide better security.
The most recent changes to the company’s Chrome browser is an excellent example of that very thing.
For months now, the company has focused on better password security, including a free tool that checks for compromised passwords, now built into the browser. Recently, Google has improved on that technology further, offering a new tool that checks the relative strength of all your saved passwords. If it finds any stored passwords that are weak and easy to deduce, it will draw the user’s attention to those and offer to help strengthen the passwords in question.
The new feature is in beta now, and slated to be rolled out in the weeks ahead for all users upgrading to version 88 of the browser, according to a recent blog post.
From an operational standpoint, here’s how it works:
When Chrome detects a weak password in your list of stored passwords, it gives you a prompt that notifies you of the weakness and gives you the opportunity to change the password to something stronger on the spot. In addition to that though, it also has the ability to generate a random, stronger password on the spot.
Whether you create your own stronger password, or take Google’s suggestion regarding a randomly generated one, you can save the stronger password to your saved list on the spot. That makes using the new feature in conjunction with the websites you regularly visit a seamless operation.
Finally, the company offers a way for users to check the strength of all of their stored passwords by going to Settings, then Passwords, then Check Password, and selecting the “Check Now” option.
If the review finds any problems, it will present the weak passwords in list form, allowing you to address each one in turn. It’s a simple, well-designed feature that is almost certain to improve security. Kudos to Google for the change.