March 30th, 2012 | Published in Google Online Security
Since we first made 2-step verification available to all Google users in February of 2011, millions of people around the world have chosen to use this extra layer of security to protect their Google Accounts. Thousands more are signing up every day. And recently, we updated the feature’s companion smartphone app, Google Authenticator, for Android users.
2-step verification works by requiring users to enter a verification code when signing in using a computer they haven’t previously marked as “trusted.” Many users choose to receive their codes via SMS or voice call, but smartphone users also have the option to generate codes on their phone by installing the Google Authenticator app — an option that is particularly useful while traveling, or where cellular coverage is unreliable. You can use Google Authenticator to generate a valid code even when your phone isn’t connected to a cellular or data network.
We want 2-step verification to be simple to use, and therefore we are working continually to make it easier for users to sign up, manage their settings, and maintain easy access to their verification codes at any time and from anywhere. Our updated Google Authenticator app has an improved look-and-feel, as well as fundamental upgrades to the back-end security and infrastructure that necessitated the migration to a new app. Future improvements, however, will use the familiar Android update procedure.
Current Google Authenticator users will be prompted to upgrade to the new version when they launch the app. We’ve worked hard to make the upgrade process as smooth as possible, but if you have questions please refer to the Help Center article for more information. And, if you aren’t already a 2-step verification user, we encourage you to give it a try.