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Google Buys Audio Password Firm SlickLogin

Douglas A. McIntyre

Google Inc. (GOOG) bought Israel-based voice password recognition company SlickLogin. The small company allows people to speak their passwords as a means to gain access to their computers. SlickLogin claims the method makes computer access more secure.

The management of SlickLogin wrote on its website:

Today we're announcing that the SlickLogin team is joining Google, a company that shares our core beliefs that logging in should be easy instead of frustrating, and authentication should be effective without getting in the way. Google was the first company to offer 2-step verification to everyone, for free -- and they're working on some great ideas that will make the internet safer for everyone. We couldn't be more excited to join their efforts.

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No price was disclosed, nor were Google's plans for the technology. However, SlickLogin's process is not widely used, and there is no public proof that it works well at all.

The buyout may be a new way for Google to claim that it can provide computer users a means to get onto their computers that is safer or more secure than the traditional method of typing in passwords. The "typing" model has already been replaced, to a very modest extent, by fingerprint recognition. SlickLogin could allow Google to bring new competition to the PC security sector.

What will not be clear for some time is whether SlickLogin's technology will survive hundreds of tests by experts outside Google and in media that critique the tech industry and its products. Google can afford to do massive amounts of experimentation with products it buys as a means to gain an edge in a number of businesses. No doubt, SlickLogin was not an expensive acquisition. Eventually Google may find its approach wanting, and the search company would not suffer financially at all if it cast SlickLogin aside.

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Part of the war among large technology companies is to buy what they have not built. This has led to hundreds of acquisitions, most of which have not become part of the foundations of their parents. SlickLogin's future is far from proven. However, its founders and owners have found a means to cash in on the tech M&A frenzy.

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