Google Drive is one of those Web services that doesn’t draw much praise for a job well done, but it’s an important asset in Google’s ever-growing tech portfolio. Now, Google is leveraging the latent popularity of Drive for improvements in another area entirely: personal account security.
Google announced Tuesday (Feb 9.) that it was offering an extra 2GB of space on users’ personal Drive accounts for free if they logged in and updated their security preferences and personal information. Users simply have to check recovery emails, verify device usage statistics and adjust permissions for connected apps and services to unlock their extra space in the cloud.
The promotion coincides with Safer Internet Day, which falls on Feb. 9 every year. Interestingly, Google wasn’t the only one to draw the public’s eye to the issue of cybersecurity on this most hallowed of holidays. The Obama administration released a Cybersecurity National Action Plan on Tuesday that aims to upgrade not just the infrastructure of security in the U.S., but also the practices used by each individual user to maintain that security.
The silver bullet that both the Obama administration and Google alike are trying to push with their respective announcements? Two-step verification.
By substituting the entering of sensitive information like password and credit card numbers for tokenization using personal smartphones or smartwatches, the powers that be in the U.S. are hoping to eliminate many of the security issues caused by simple, easily stolen passwords like “12345” and “PASSWORD.” Moving the average consumer away from the familiar concept of the passcode might take a considerable effort, though the White House can draw on a projected $3.1 billion fund to promote higher security standards.
On the other hand, Google’s monetary commitment to a more secure future through two-step verification is bounded only by how much they think the change will benefit their business going forward.