What Google’s Acquisition of SlickLogin Could Mean for the Internet
Android, YouTube, Motorola, Waze: these four companies have all been bought by Google and now work under the search giant’s massive umbrella. Most recently, Israeli start-up SlickLogin has joined that list as Google works to improve the security of its pages, and the security of the Internet as a whole.
With Google’s acquisition of SlickLogin, Google can potentially be signifying a change in login procedures for their products in the future.
What is SlickLogin?
SlickLogin is a two-step verification system. This means users can’t just login with a traditional username and password, but need to use their mobile devices to verify that they’re actually the person behind the account. More often than not, a code or keyword gets texted to your phone when you’re on a tablet or PC.
This is where SlickLogin steps in as a revolutionary tool. Instead of making the user check their phone and enter codes, SlickLogin plays a series of notes from your computer speakers (that are almost silent) that the app on your phone listens to. Then the app sends a signal back, unlocking the second step of verification.
The Rise of Two-Step Verification
Last year, the Syrian Electronic Army made a fool of Twitter by repeatedly hacking high-profile accounts like the Associated Press, The New York Times, and The Guardian. Despite the fact that the SEA operates by using email phishing scams – they send an email that appears to come from an internal staff member with a link that appears to go to a news site – critics were still calling for Twitter to beef up its security. Side note: we can’t forget about Burger King’s account getting hacked last year to promote McDonald’s, either.
Twitter set up two-step verification in May of 2013, and they were quickly followed by LinkedIn and Evernote. Even Google put out a reminder that two-step verification was possible on its site. In the span of a month, it looked like our future would be a world where we try to log-in to anything and then have to insert a code sent to our smartphones.
SlickLogin isn’t going to work like Siri, where you’re trying to align the stars of when the computer is playing the sound and the app is listening. The app is meant to make logging-in easier and safer at the same time. For the most part, it will fly under the radar, especially because the sounds are silent.
What This Means for the Internet
Google is the unquestionable king of the Internet. We use it daily for myriad reasons. Whether it’s sending a quick email to a grandparent through Gmail or commenting on a cat video, we are logged-in and using Google products.
When Google lifts a finger, it sends ripple effects throughout the Internet. Not only do other sites follow suit, but most of us are affected on a day-to-day level. With such a massive reach, shouldn’t it be secure?
This Could Quickly Become the New Normal
YouTube has more than 1 billion unique users each month. That’s 1 billion opportunities for people to login and try the new SlickLogin system. Now, not everyone logs in when they visit the site, but if only half do, that’s still 500 million log-ins.
If SlickLogin does fly under the radar like Google says it does, and if it does make two-step verification easier than before, we could quickly see a mass adoption of this technology in only a few months. Between YouTube and Gmail, billions of people log in each day. Google’s massive reach means that if it implements something cool, we’re going to get used to it and want to see it elsewhere. If this catches on, we could expect to see Facebook adopt something similar, and then it’s all downhill from there until audio two-step verification is universally accepted.
Despite the speculation that this could change the entire face of the Internet – in a very subtle way – there’s still a long way to go. SlickLogin doesn’t even have a completed product yet. They’re still going to be developing and working on it under the tech giant’s wing. It’s a gutsy move to acquire a company that doesn’t have a product yet; hopefully it pays off.