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How one startup simplifies passwordless authentication across devices with Google Cloud

October 3, 2022
Cole Hecht

Co-Founder & CEO, Passage

Most people find it difficult to remember all the passwords they need for work, home, and school. Although device-native biometrics offer a smoother login experience and stronger security, fingerprint and facial recognition are only supported by a few mobile applications.

That’s why we built a solution to provide complete passwordless user authentication in just a few lines of code. With Passage, mobile and web developers can create more secure and frictionless user experiences across devices by replacing conventional text passwords with Face ID, Touch ID, and Windows Hello.

Businesses that leverage Passage — and encourage people to sign in with a quick glance or touch — are seeing increased sign ups, higher conversion rates, and reduced password-related support costs. As we expand our team, we’ll continue to introduce new solutions and services that make it even easier for developers to implement mobile apps and websites with device-native biometric authentication that eliminate reliance on often difficult-to-remember passwords.

Delivering frictionless passwordless experiences

We started Passage with a small team, a limited budget, and an ambitious product roadmap. From day one, we knew we needed a reliable technology partner who would enable us to securely scale services, automate manual tasks, and minimize IT costs. With that in mind, we became part of the Google for Startups Cloud Program and chose the secure-by-design infrastructure of Google Cloud to power our device-native biometric authentication platform.

The Google for Startups Cloud Program gave us cloud credits so we could cost-effectively trial and deploy different Google Cloud products — all of which offer out-of-the-box compliance with major international security standards and regulations. Within months, we built and launched a fully functioning beta version of Passage that allows people to seamlessly register and log in to websites with only their face or fingerprint.

Specifically, we use Google Kubernetes Engine (GKE) and Pub/Sub to efficiently manage customer deployments of Passage, while taking advantage of features such as Autopilot to further automate and streamline cluster provisioning. We rely on Cloud Spanner to create and scale globally replicated databases with just a few clicks and leverage its advanced data sharding capabilities to support Passage’s high-availability, low-latency requirements. In addition, we use BigQuery to run analytics at scale with 27% lower three-year TCO than cloud data warehouse alternatives. 

We are further exploring how Google Cloud AI and machine learning products such as Vertex AI can help Passage detect suspicious login activity and anomalous user behavior. In addition, we’re evaluating AlloyDB for PostgreSQL which implements machine learning-enabled autopilot systems to simplify database management and deliver real-time analytical queries up to 100X faster than standard PostgreSQL.

Building a more secure authentication future with Google Cloud

With Google Cloud, Passage is creating a more secure authentication future where people can use any device to seamlessly sign up, log in, and buy products with only their face or fingerprint. In this future, businesses aim to further mitigate the financial and legal risks associated with storing and managing legacy login credentials, while their customers enjoy streamlined, more protected access to services they rely on. Similarly, e-commerce retailers could see revenues increase as fewer customers abandon transactions because they can’t remember their password.

At Passage, we believe a simpler, more secure future without passwords is achievable. We’re dedicated to making device-native biometric authentication accessible to all by helping developers integrate the open-source standard WebAuthn in any environment. Although there is often a tradeoff between security and user experience, Passage offers a unique combination of both with low implementation complexity.

As Passage exits beta, we’ll continue to work closely with dedicated Google for Startups experts to launch new solutions and services that make it even easier for developers to implement biometric authentication and create more frictionless experiences to streamline people’s access to services across apps, websites, and devices. 

If you want to learn more about how Google Cloud can help your startup, visit our page here to get more information about our program, and sign up for our communications to get a look at our community activities, digital events, special offers, and more.

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