Google Acquires Security Startup to Let Users Log In With 'Ultrasonic Sound'
When it comes to security, Google is trying something a little different. The search giant has acquired SlickLogin, a young security startup that authenticates user identities using -- get this -- high frequency sounds. The technology could serve as a replacement to traditional passwords or function as the second step in a two-factor authentication process.
The exact terms of the deal haven’t been disclosed but reports say the acquisition cost Google several million dollars.
SlickLogin's three-member Tel Aviv, Israel-based startup was founded less than a year ago and officially launched its technology in September.
Websites that support SlickLogin’s technology will play a unique, almost silent tone that can be read by an app on the user’s smartphone. To confirm your identity, the app analyzes the signal and then confirms your authenticity to the server the site is hosted on.
The ultrasonic tone is different each time a user logs in, eliminating the ability to “steal” someone else’s auditory signature.
The idea is to improve the login experience. This new technology could eliminate the hassles of remembering multiple passwords and waiting for text messages with single-use PINs. Simply type in your password and your speakers and phone do the rest.
This is Google’s fifth Israeli acquisition. The company established a development center there in 2006 with offices in Haifa and Tel Aviv. Other acquisitions in Israel include iRow, Waze, LabPixies and Quicksee.
Benjamin Kabin is a Brooklyn-based technology journalist who specializes in security, startups, venture capital and social media.