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Google Password Manager: What is it and how to use it

Google Password Manager
(Image credit: Google)

Google Password Manager is a website password manager built into the Google Chrome web browser. You can use it to securely store all the different passwords that you use online. When you revisit a site with a stored password, Google Password Manager will automatically fill in the password details. This way, you don’t need to keep track of all the different passwords that you use across the internet. Plus, your passwords will sync across all the devices on which you use Chrome. The password manager can even generate unique, secure passwords for each website you visit, as well as check if any of the passwords you’re using online have been compromised in a data security breach.

In this article, we’ll discuss how to use all the important features of Google Password Manager.

How to get started with Google Password Manager

Google Password Manager is built into the Chrome browsers for Windows, Android, iPhone, and iPad, so as soon as you’ve installed Chrome on your devices, it’s available for use. You can download Chrome for free from Google.

If you don’t already have a Google account (which is used for Gmail, YouTube, and Google Play), you’ll need to create one. You’ll be prompted to do so from within the Chrome browser when you first install it, or you can go to the Google account creation page. There, you’ll be asked for your name, email address, and to create a password. You can either use your existing email address or create a new, free Gmail address. Optionally, you can also add a recovery phone number and email address to be used if you’re unable to log into your account.

Save Password

(Image credit: Google)

How to save passwords in Google Password Manager

Each time you create a new account on a website, Chrome will ask whether you want to save the username and password. Clicking Save will store this information for future use. You can save multiple username and password combinations for each site.

When you return to the website in the future, the password form will automatically fill in. If you’ve saved multiple passwords for the page, you can select the username and password pair that you want to use from a drop-down menu.

How to generate strong passwords with Google Password Manager

Google Password Manager can be used to create strong, unique passwords for new accounts. This prevents you from re-using weak passwords across multiple websites, which is a huge security risk. 

When you sign up for a new account on a website, click the password text box and choose Suggest Strong Password (If this option is missing, right-click on the password field and select Generate Password.) 

You’ll be shown a preview of the password, which you can confirm by clicking Use Suggested Password. This secure, unique password will now be stored in your Google account for that website.

Chrome password manager

(Image credit: Google)

How to sync passwords across devices with Google Password Manager 

When sync is turned on in Chrome, your passwords are securely stored in your Google account. All Chrome browsers with sync enabled will automatically use these shared passwords. This is perfect if you use Chrome on multiple devices and want access to your accounts everywhere. That said, don’t enable syncing on public computers, such as those shared in libraries and web cafes.

In Chrome for Windows, you can enable sync by clicking on Settings, choosing Sync, clicking Google Services, and selecting Turn On. 

Below this, you’ll find Manage What You Sync, where you can choose whether to sync other details, such as bookmarks, apps, extensions, history, settings, themes, addresses, and payment methods.

How to manage the passwords stored in Google Password Manager

If you have password sync enabled, you can manage the passwords stored in Google Password Manager at passwords.google.com. Here, you can search through stored passwords, add/edit/remove passwords, and export a copy of all your passwords in an (insecure) text file format.

This can also be done within the Chrome browser itself. To find this menu in Chrome for Windows, click on your profile picture (top right) and then on the Passwords button (which looks like a key). 

For Chrome on Android, iPhone, and iOS, you’ll find this menu by clicking More, choosing Settings, and clicking Passwords.

(Image credit: Google)

How to check the security of your passwords

If any of the passwords that you use on websites are compromised in a security breach, malicious hackers could gain access to your account. Google Password Manager has a Password Checkup tool that checks your stored passwords against known breaches. If any of your passwords have been compromised, you should change them immediately.

The Password Checkup tool also advises you on the passwords that you’ve reused across sites and any weak passwords. You should update these to be strong and unique for each website.

Password Checkup is also available from within the Chrome browser. On Windows, click Settings, choose Safety Check, and click Check Now.

Built into all Chrome browsers

Google Password Manager is simple to use, built into all Chrome browsers, and stores your passwords securely. It’s a good choice if you only use Chrome for browsing, but if you use other web browsers, such as Firefox and Edge, you might prefer a dedicated password manager, such as Dashlane or LastPass. These services have extra features, such as secure file storage, VPNs, and multi-factor authentication.

For many people, though, Google Password Manager has everything they need from a website password management tool.