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Twitter’s Digits Wants to Kill the Password Once and For All

by Jacob Kleinman | October 22, 2014October 22, 2014 9:30 pm PDT

Twitter had a few big surprises to share during its Flight developer conference earlier today, but the most exciting news may be a bold plan to kill the password once and for all using a solution called “Digits.” Digits replaces the tired old password with the phone number directly tied to your own smartphone.

Digits won’t replace the passwords you need to log into sites like Facebook, Google or Amazon on your computer, but if you’re trying out the latest trendy app you’ll be able to sign up with just your phone number. It also promises to beef up security. Each time you sign in, Digits creates a new login code which expires at the end of your session. Two-factor authentication is on the way, though it’s not included just yet.

To be clear, Digits isn’t a consumer product. It’s a tool developers can build into their apps in place of a traditional password or a login through Facebook/Twitter/Google system, and it’s actually just one of a handful of new kits Twitter unveiled today collectively called Fabric.

Alongside Digits, app-makers are also getting a few more kits. There’s Crashlytics, which promises added stability and lets developers fix bugs way faster than before, and MobPub, which should make it easier to introduce ads into apps. Finally, the company is releasing an enhanced Twitter kit that makes embedding tweets into any app a breeze.

The biggest news though—at least for the non-developer crowd—is Digits. Personally, we’re tired of constantly thinking up new passwords or re-using the same ones even though we know we shouldn’t. Sure, two-step verification is great but it still doesn’t come baked into every new app. Digits might just be the answer, though whether developers go along with Twitter’s plan remains to be seen.

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Jacob Kleinman

Jacob Kleinman has been working as a journalist online and in print since he arrived at Wesleyan University in 2007. After graduating, he took a...