Passage, from the Edinburgh-based team behind Peekabu, replaces your passwords with images. So instead of typing in a password, you simply hold a previously registered image up to your screen — maybe a photo of your family you have on your desk or your driver’s license.
The team, which built this service over the course of the last 24 hours during our Disrupt London hackathon, has a background in image recognition, but as Peekabu CEO Alexander Cole told me, a lot of that work has focused on 3D image recognition in the past. Passage is a bit of a departure from this, but it’s also a good way to test many of the company’s systems, especially if it ends up being a popular service.
From the users’ perspective, here is how it works when you end up on a site that uses Passage: you register with your email and then, instead of entering a password (twice), you hold up your image in front of your camera to register it (currently, the team has this up and running for the web — through WebRTC — and on Android, with iOS support coming soon). You can use a different image for every account and even multiple images so you have a fallback for when you lose your driver’s licence, for example. You could even register an image that automatically initiates a password reset.
In the background, the service then runs the image you scanned through its recognition algorithms and matches it with your registered images. Thanks to a Chrome plugin (which the team sadly wasn’t able to finish during our hackathon), you could even link the Passage phone app with your desktop, so you could scan your image with your phone and use that to log into a website on your desktop.
As Cole told me, the team is thinking to turn this into a full-blown password manager, but for the time being, it’s still a bit of a hack. The team, which includes Cole, as well as Jacek Dudek, James Nesfield, Jan Wessnitzer and Chris Aitken, plans to release an alpha version within the next week and a half, though (we’ll put a link to the code into this post once the service is live).
The other project the team is working on is a basic messaging app. But users will have to take images of certain locations (or maybe a movie poster) to see the messages that other users left for them.