Google has acquired SlickLogin – an Israeli start-up behind the technology that allows websites to verify a user’s identity by using sound waves.It works by playing a uniquely generated, nearly-silent sound through computer speakers, which is picked up by an app on the user’s smartphone.
The app analyzes the sound and sends a signal back to confirm the identity.
The technology can be used either as a replacement for a password or as an additional security layer.
SlickLogin confirmed the acquisition on its website but did not provide any financial details of the deal.
“Today we`re announcing that the SlickLogin team is joining Google, a company that shares our core beliefs that logging in should be easy instead of frustrating, and authentication should be effective without getting in the way,” the firm said in a statement.
“Google was the first company to offer two-step verification to everyone, for free – and they’re working on some great ideas that will make the internet safer for everyone.”
Many firms, especially those in sectors such as financial services, have been adopting a two-step verification for users.
The steps include matching the user name and the password plus a second layer of verification.
In some cases, such as online payments, companies message the user a one-time Pin on the mobile phone number associated with their account. The user then enters the Pin within a stipulated period of time to verify his or her identity.
Some other companies, like banks, issue special gadgets that generate unique codes. Users need to enter these codes to authenticate their login.
Analysts said that while these methods has been working, firms were keen to use even more secure ways to protect their users against any data theft.
“The more uniquely a technology identifies the user, the safer the system would be against any potential hacks,” Sharat Sinha, a vice president with Palo Alto Networks, a firm specialising in enterprise security told the BBC.
“The problem with one-time Pins is that if someone hacks into your account, they can change the mobile number associated with it.
“Meanwhile, specialised hardware devices provided to users are something they need to carry with them all the time,” he said.
Mr Sinha added that firms were looking for technology that is not only unique and highly secure, but also convenient to use.
“And anything that uses smartphones makes life easier for the users.”