Google buys start-up behind ‘audio login’

Google has acquired a start-up that is working on functionality that uses a high-frequency sound to log in. It is unknown whether Google wants to further develop the functionality or whether it will take over the company for its employees.

Neither company has disclosed what Google paid for the start-up. The company, SlickLogin, wanted to make it easier to log in, using the user’s smartphone. It can play a unique sound at an almost inaudible frequency, after which the microphone of the user’s PC picks up that sound and verifies his identity.

The system can be used in two ways. First, the password can be completely replaced; when logging in, only the sound needs to be generated to log in. On the other hand, it can be used for two factor authentication. In that case, the password must be entered first and then, as a second verification, the sound must be played. This is more user-friendly than entering a time-based code, which is used as a second verification option in most cases.

It is unclear whether Google wants to integrate SlickLogin’s technology into its products or whether it is an acqui-hire. In the latter, a start-up is taken over for the talent that works there and not so much for the product that is being developed by the company. The Israeli SlickLogin was less than a year old and did not yet have a working product.