I'm going to say the most hated word in the English language. Are you ready? "Password." I know, your eyes have already glazed over, leaving you exhausted with a side of existential dread. Ugh, a password? I'm not still logged in? Wait, can I remember it? Was it stolen? Am I going to need to reset it?
"It's kind of obvious, but security isn't the reason any users signed up for our product," says Jonathan Skelker, product manager in account security at Google. "They want to use our product, get the utility. But having an online account comes with security . . . and it's a delicate area to work in. You need users to be on board with you."
Managing passwords and account security is something that none of us really wants to think about, let alone hunt down when something goes wrong. And so today, Google is releasing a new design that will overtly warn you of security problems across all of your accounts. Kind of like the bat signal, it will only be used in the case of pretty big emergencies–like that you need to change your Google password because someone else has acquired it.
Previously, Google would have sent you an email, or Android users, a push notification. The new design is a pulsing red circle, with a red alert badge, that appears around your google account avatar like a bullseye. You might not realize it, but over the past two years, your avatar has made its way across Google services: in Gmail, Google Docs, Google Photos, and pretty much every Google app out there. And for the most part, you don't notice your avatar. But when it's pulsing red? You do. When you inevitably tap on your circled avatar, Google will usher you to a security page with more information on the attack, and instructions on how to update your account.