Over the next few days you should see a link on your Google Account Settings page that allows you to enabled 2-step verification. This new feature adds an extra layer of security to your Google account by requiring a special passcode in addition to your normal password.
The opt-in program might be a hassle for some, but it’s a great tool to improve the security of your account since it requires “the powerful combination of both something you know–your username and password–and something that only you should have–your phone.” Setup takes around 15 minutes and Android users will want to download the Google Authenticator app from the Market.
Once you join the program, Google will prompt you for a five to eight-digit verification code that you will get from your phone. If you want to avoid re-entering a code every time you access your account, Google has included an option to “Remember verification for this computer for 30 days.” You can also generate a one-time, application-specific password if you need to sign in to your Google account from non-browser based app that is designed to only ask for a password, and cannot ask for the passcode.
The new feature has yet to hit my main Google account, but I’ve used rotating security keys (like RSA SecureID) in the past and I appreciate the added-layer of security. I’m hoping Google will add some biometric security options in the near future, but 2-step verification is a great start to making our accounts more secure.
If you have the new 2-step verification already enabled on your account, please share your thoughts on the setup process. To learn more about 2-step verification and getting started, visit Google’s Help Center.