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Google buys SlickLogin sound-based password entry startup



Google has acquired a small startup called SlickLogin, which was working on a way to achieve password authentication through sound.

The three-person Israeli company only launched five months ago, but it’s already been poached by the big G. News of the acquisition has appeared on SlickLogin’s own website.

"Today we’re announcing that the SlickLogin team is joining Google," reads the note from the three founders, "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 concept behind SlickLogin is that a website seeking authentication would play a high frequency sound (inaudible to the human ear) through your computer’s speakers. Your smartphone would then pick up this tone, analyse it, and signal the website that you are indeed the person authorised to access the account.

SlickLogin itself had only been made available as a small, closed beta at the time of the acquisition, so Google is not purchasing a finished product here - rather the potential of a product and the talent behind it.

SlickLogin was envisaged as a possible secondary layer in the fiddly two-step authentication process, and the company has linked that to Google’s own work in the field:

"Google was the first company to offer 2-step verification to everyone, for free - and they're working on some great ideas that will make the internet safer for everyone. We couldn`t be more excited to join their efforts."

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Via: TechCrunch


February 17, 2014, 1:26 pm

The last name I would give a system that relies on you accessing a specially enabled website, and having a similarly enabled mobile phone actually with you at that moment is 'slick'.

Sounds like a wacky solution looking for a problem.


February 17, 2014, 2:45 pm

I agree.

The only thing I could see this solving is not having to enter a password when in a PC in an internet cafe. But you'd have to enter your email address to the site and someone could record the response, so the sound would have to be encoded with your email address.

But I'm not sure how the phone then "signals" the website. But...why not just use your phone in the first place? Data caps?


February 17, 2014, 5:06 pm

Pg, the code that the site generates is unique to each login. Recording it wouldn't help. You would also still need to steal the user's password.

The idea of 2 factor authentication is not to replace password entry, but to make it stronger. You can't log in without having both the password AND the second factor in possession. The problem with normal 2 factor methods is that they are cumbersome and frustrating. Mostly you need to carry a dedicated secondary device, like the HSBC secure key.

I think the idea here is just to simplify the second factor input method.

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