There isn't a single survey conducted about consumers' relationship to the Web that doesn't show people's concern about... online security. How safe is the Web?

Weather it is online banking or just having a Facebook; there is always a risk of someone stealing or cracking your password. Worth noting is a recent UBS study, about Internet fraud. It shows that the email accounts are actually more likely to be hacked than any other types of Internet accounts, weather the user is online or offline.

As a result, securing users’ access to their accounts is one of the top priorities of email service providers. Google just launched a new service called 2-step verification to help users increase security in their Gmail accounts. The service is not available for everybody yet, but Google promised it would start a progressive rollout in the following weeks.

The service is quite simple to use: if you do the opt-in, Google will ask you for a 6 digit code on top of your regular password, each time you log into your Gmail account. This code will only be available via the users’ Smartphone. Users won’t be able to access their emails unless they have both their password and this 6 digit code.

For the moment, the service is available for Android, iPhone and Blackberry only. If you have one of the first two OS you will be asked to install an App, and if you have a Blackberry you will have to go to a specific website to do the setup.

Since Eric Schmidt announced that mobile payments - alias Google Check Out – is Google’s top priority for 2011, this new verification system is very likely to be a first step towards a more secure online payment system for Google’s mobile ecosystem.

By Sergi Herrero
Directeur général de L'Atelier BNP Paribas US