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Google's Authenticator security app comes to Android smartwatches

Google's Authenticator security app comes to Android smartwatches

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There's a new version of Google Authenticator for Android that includes a Android Wear version of the app. The updated Authenticator lets users skip taking out their phones to retrieve their second-factor code, Google wrote in a blog post. However, using the app isn't completely navigation-free; users either have to pull the app up on their watch or use voice commands to launch it. Another thing to note is that while Android smartwatches aren't secure by default, the app offers the option to only send the verification code when the watch is locked.

Along with the added wearables compatibility, Google’s also opening up a developer preview for NFC Security Key, which would allow users to authenticate a login by tapping a NFC-enabled tag against their phones. To play with that functionality, a developer needs an Android device running the latest versions of Google Chrome and Authenticator, as well as a Security Key with NFC support. The Security Key is based off FIDO's requirements, which Google previously backed more than a year ago with the release of its USB key for Gmail and Chrome two-factor authentication.

Beyond its security updates, Google also updated the Authenticator icon and gave the app a slightly updated design. You can download the updated version now in the Google Play store.