After an aggressive acquisition drive in 2013, it doesn’t appear that Internet giants Google is stopping anytime soon: the company has announced that it has acquired another startup, SlickLogin. This comes after a string of startup acquisitions and the high-profile acquisition of Boston Dynamics, an engineering firm that designs robots for the Pentagon.
SlickLogin aims to “make the Internet safer for everyone” by offering a more convenient password replacement technology. Basically, SlickLogin is engineering a replacement for two-factor authentication that is currently in use today in dealing with sensitive transactions online, such as Internet banking or even accessing certain Google services. Coincidentally, Google was also the first company to start offering two-factor authentication for free.
At the startup’s reveal at last year’s TechCrunch Distrupt, this is how SlickLogin works as described by TechCrunch:
As a user, you’d go to whatever SlickLogin-enabled site you’d like to log in to. Tap the login button, hold your phone up close to the laptop, and you’re in.
SlickLogin can use a bunch of protocols to start verifying your phone’s position: WiFi, Bluetooth, NFC, visual markers like QR codes, and of course, GPS. Their self-dubbed “secret sauce”, though, is their use of uniquely generated sounds intentionally made inaudible to the human ear. Your computer plays the sound through its speakers, while an app on your smartphone uses the device’s built-in microphone to pick up the audio.
It certainly sounds very slick, especially when you don’t have to wait for a text message to key in a six-digit verification code to complete a standard two-factor authentication process – which can be frustrating especially when the text does not arrive promptly. Despite the startup being only five months old, the idea certainly holds plenty of promise; certainly enough to catch the attention of Google.