Windows 10 will soon allow logins via a Google Account
A commit spotted at the Chromium Gerrit site has revealed that Google is working on a credential provider for Windows 10. A credential provider is a service that provides a mechanism for user authentication. Windows includes system credential providers such as passwords, PIN, Windows Hello, and smartcards. Enterprises and OEMs can create third-party credential providers and register them for authentication. Google is, therefore, in the process of creating one such third-party credential provider.
What this means is that soon users will be able to login to their Windows 10 PCs using their Google account. Currently, it appears that the Google Credential Provider (GCP) will allow Windows to authenticate enterprise G Suite users. There is a possibility that regular user accounts might be allowed in due course of time.
The commit, first spotted by Chrome Story and explored in-depth by BleepingComputer, is authored by Chromium developer Roger Tawa. Tawa did not reveal much about the project but BleepingComputer did some digging and found out that after installation, GCP will register the provider in the Registry and auto-configure Chrome to launch at startup. Why Chrome is needed for GCP to work is not yet known but once the setup process is complete, the user will see a Google sign-in option at the Windows logon prompt.
Administrators of Google G Suite in the enterprise assign a Google Accounts and ID Administration (GAIA) account to the end user who can then use it to logon to the system. The credential provider will authenticate the GAIA account using Google's OAuth 2.0 API to allow access to the system and the user will be presented with the Chrome browser window upon logging in.
BleepingComputer could not elicit much information from either Google or Tawa so we still do not know how Google plans to roll it out and whether the credential provider will eventually facilitate access using regular accounts or not. The project itself is still in the code review stage and can get scrapped if plans change.
Google is traditionally not known to play well with Microsoft's platform. The Mountain View giant's hard-boiled tryst with Windows Phone is very well known and in the past, has taken decisions to prematurely report vulnerabilities in Microsoft products. Google offered a web wrapper for the Chrome installer in the Microsoft Store but the listing was taken down by Microsoft for not complying with Store policies. Recently, Google made changes to YouTube but continued to use the deprecated Shadow DOM v0 API that is only implemented in Chrome leaving users of Edge and other browsers with a less than ideal YouTube experience. In the light of the above ecosystem war between Google and Microsoft, this new credential provider project does raise a few eyebrows.
Would you prefer to login to your PC using a Google account or prefer the traditional local account? Let us know in the comments below.