Google has released an update to its Authenticator app that enables it to sync one-time two-factor authentication (2FA) codes to users’ Google Accounts. This feature is intended to offer greater convenience and security to users, who can now recover their codes on any new device they use. Previously, users could lose access to their accounts if they lost their Authenticator-enabled device.
To use the new sync feature, users simply need to update their Authenticator app. Once they sign in to their Google Account on the app, their codes will be backed up automatically. Even those who aren’t signed in can transfer their codes to another device by following the steps outlined in the support page.
Although some users may have reservations about syncing their sensitive codes with Google’s cloud, Google insists that it is a secure process. Christiaan Brand, a group product manager at Google, emphasized that the update is in line with the company’s goal to provide a secure and free solution for sites to add ‘something you have’ 2FA when signing in.
It is worth noting that Google’s previous lack of transparency about the roadmap for Authenticator may be a concern for some users. The app was initially an open-source project but was later made proprietary. The official open-source forks of the Android, iOS and BlackBerry apps haven’t been updated in years.
However, there are plenty of alternatives available for users who are not comfortable with using Authenticator. Popular options include Authy and Duo, which are highly rated and offer similar features.