January 28, 2022

You’ll be able to log into Windows using your Google account (eventually)

Windows 10 includes a variety of methods, referred to as ‘Credential Providers,’ for logging into user accounts. This includes passwords, Windows Hello (fingerprint/face recognition), and PINs. Microsoft also allows third-party apps to create their own credential providers, and it looks like a future Chrome update will do exactly that.

First, here’s a full explanation of what credential providers are, from Microsoft’s documentation:

Credential providers are the primary mechanism for user authentication—they currently are the only method for users to prove their identity which is required for logon and other system authentication scenarios. With Windows 10 and the introduction of Microsoft Passport, credential providers are more important than ever; they will be used for authentication into apps, websites, and more.

Microsoft provides a variety of credential providers as part of Windows, such as password, PIN, smartcard, and Windows Hello (Fingerprint, Face, and Iris recognition). These are referred to as “system credential providers” in this article. OEMs, Enterprises, and other entities can write their own credential providers and integrate them easily into Windows. These are referred to as “third-party credential providers” in this article.

A large commit discovered by Chrome Story indicates that Chrome will soon function as a third-party credential provider. Strings in the gaia_resources.grd file reveal that users will be able to log into Windows using Google accounts:

<message name=”IDS_INVALID_UI_RESPONSE” desc=””>
Signing in to your Google account failed, please try again. Make sure the computer has a valid internet connection. If the error persists, please report to Google (could not parse UI data).

<message name=”IDS_USER_ALREADY_EXISTS” desc=””>
A user on this computer was already created from this Google Account. Either sign in to the existing user or create a new user with a different Google Account.

<message name=”IDS_AUTH_FID_DESCRIPTION” desc=””>
Logon using your Google Account.

There are a few potential uses for this. If you have a local Windows account (not a synced Microsoft account) and you forget your password, you could log in with Google instead. This would also be beneficial for Chromebook users, as you could use the same password on all your devices.

The feature isn’t yet functional in Chrome Canary, but it should appear soon.

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