Google Identity Platform Introduces New Authentication APIs

Google has announced the Google Identity Platform, a suite of tools developers can use to secure apps without the traditional burdens associated with securing such apps. The Platform includes three flagship tools: Smart Lock for Passwords, Google Sign-in and Identity Toolkit. While many of the tools included in the platform have secured Google services for some time, Google now extends much of the previously internal functionality to third-party apps and developers through APIs.

Smart Lock constitutes a password manager built into a user's Google account. Smart Lock automatically signs users in to Android apps and autofills credentials on websites viewed with Chrome. Smart Lock exists to eliminate the need to remember and type out password credentials. Via the Identity Platform, Google has now extended Smart Lock to app developers via an API. Eventbrite, Orbitz, Netflix, Instacart, The New York Times and others represent early users that have integrated Smart Lock to automatically sign users in across properties. Smart Lock identifies and prefills login credentials across devices and prompts the app to save a password for future use.

Google Sign-in exists as a gateway to securely connect Google users and services to an app or site. Instead of creating new logins for all apps, app users can sign in with a Google account. The login used for Gmail, Google Play, Google+ and other Google services can be used log users in to third-party apps that integrate Google Sign-in. The New York Times says it has experienced a significant increase in new user sign-ups attributed to the ease added by Google Sign-in.

Google Identity Toolkit provides a comprehensive Authentication system. Google describes the toolkit as a method by which developers can "do sign-in the right way." The toolkit grows with apps. It supports email and password authentication in addition to major identity providers (e.g., Google and Facebook). Nontechnical developers can utilize the toolkit with simple configuration changes that add future sign-in options and migrate existing users. Scale across platforms allows the toolkit to grow with an app as the app grows to new environments. To learn more about Google Identity Platform, visit the identity site.

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