ATAP division head previews behavioral biometrics system at Google I/O

June 1, 2015 - 

Google’s Advanced Technology and Projects (ATAP) division has been developing Project Abacus, a behavioral biometrics-based authorization system that detects the nuances of a user’s voice, typing patterns, facial features, and location, according to a report by Android Authority.

The system takes into account these four components and calculates a “trust score” that authenticates the end users of various apps.

Those apps that involve highly sensitive data, such as a banking app, would require an extremely high score while those apps that involve less sensitive information, such as a video game, could be accessed with a lower score.

While still in development, Google aims to integrate the technology on Android phones in the future.

Regina Dugan, head of Google ATAP and former director of DARPA, recently discussed the technology at Google I/O 2015.

Dugan explained that in the past, researchers at academic institutions had a difficult time developing an authentication system that was as secure as a four-digit PIN code.

In an effort to improve security for authentication, Google partnered with many universities and 25 experts from various institutions to participate in a 90-day research period.

Aided by 1,500 participants in total, Google has significantly improved the authorization system to the point where it is now 10 times more secure than fingerprint systems, said Dugan.

If someone other than the owner tries to access the phone, the device should be able to recognize that it is not the rightful owner, and asks for the user’s password.

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About Justin Lee

Justin Lee has been a contributor with Biometric Update since 2014. Previously, he was a staff writer for web hosting magazine and website, theWHIR. For more than a decade, Justin has written for various publications on issues relating to technology, arts and culture, and entertainment. Follow him on Twitter @BiometricJustin.