Google is releasing an entire new design for Chrome today with new features and tweaks to the browser’s overall appearance. You can read more about the redesign here, but one of the big new features is an improved password manager. Chrome will now offer to automatically generate a random password when you sign up to websites for the first time. This password will be stored inside a Google Account securely and synced across desktop and mobile versions of Chrome.
This should stop regular Chrome users from always picking the same password for each site, and ultimately ending up with a security headache if a site is breached. Chrome’s password manager is a welcome change, but you may still want to use a dedicated and separate password manager. Chrome only manages passwords inside its browser, so if you sign into various mobile apps or apps on a TV like Netflix then these login combinations won’t be stored in a Google Account. That’s particularly relevant now that iOS 12 is about to introduce the ability to autofill passwords across browsers and apps from third-party password managers.
Google’s choice to offer a password generator and manager will likely trigger debate about best password practices. Some security experts argue web users should simply remember a long and memorable phrase for each password, while others recommend a random password with special characters that’s managed by a password manager. Both options should still take modern computers years to crack, until systems get faster or the age of quantum computing finally arrives. By then, we’re hoping the entire industry has figured out a reliable way to get rid of pesky passwords once and for all.
Chrome’s new password manager is available today as part of the Chrome 69 release.