Chrome 75 has been with us for a few weeks now, but just like with earlier versions of Chrome, it sometimes takes a few weeks to see all the new and interesting changes that are part of the update. This particular feature makes so much sense and is so handy, it will honestly make you wonder why it wasn’t in place a long time ago.
Password management is central to our online lives. Nearly every service needs a way to identify you as an individual, and many of those services and apps don’t really work together. Sure, the advent of logging in with existing services has helped (i.e. – log in with Google or Facebook), but not everyone is on board with that system. What we’re left with at the end of the day is a slew of passwords that we are tasked with keeping up with and very few good ways to do it.
With Google’s own password manager, there’s been a pretty solid solution with a place to store your passwords and deploy them when needed. As a matter of fact, across all places you can use Google Chrome you can leverage Google’s password auto-fill regardless of the operating system or device. With that freedom, however, there’s always been a pretty substantial security risk. All the way up to Chrome 74, you’ve been able to navigate to your passwords in the settings of Google Chrome, search for what you are looking for, and then reveal the password in question. Sure, you obviously need to be able to log in to the device to do this in the first place, so there’s a level of security: but it has always felt brittle to me.
Chrome 75 Secures Things
A change in Chrome 75 has brought a bit of comfort to this whole process with one simple change: viewing passwords now requires your Google Account password every time you open up the settings. It doesn’t matter if or when you logged into the device you are using: if you want to view a password for a site in Chrome 75, you have to know the Google Account password in order to view it.
This small change makes a massive difference if Google is your choice for password management. While it does nothing for auto-filling usernames and passwords on sites if someone already has full access to your device, it does keep them from being able to easily skim your saved passwords and taking that info with them for later use. I’ve utilized Google’s password service for a very long time and always felt a little uneasy about it in general, so this change makes me feel a ton better about keeping my passwords wrapped up in Google’s ecosystem.
Make no mistake, however, as this doesn’t mean you can just leave your device sitting around unlocked and have nothing to worry about. Keep your device locked at all times and never, ever give out the password or PIN for your devices. With any luck, all this sort of info will eventually be hidden behind encrypted, biometric interfaces in the not to distant future. Until that future is upon us, however, every little step helps.