Google Streamlines Its Titan Keys by Adding NFC and Ditching Bluetooth

Google Streamlines Its Titan Keys by Adding NFC and Ditching Bluetooth
Image: Google

Google’s Titan Key has been credited with eliminating phishing attacks on Google employees, and now this week Google is updating its line of security dongles with wider support for NFC.

In a new Google Security blog, Google explains that going forward, its Titan Security Keys will only be available in two configurations: a dongle with a USB-A connector, and a dongle with a USB-C connector, with both models featuring support for NFC.

The impetus behind the change is that Google says with most Android phones and iPhones featuring support for NFC, support for Bluetooth had become somewhat redundant. On top of that, with some security researchers claiming the Bluetooth protocol has become overly complex and a potential source of security exploits, switching over to NFC should improve that Titan Key’s security credentials even further.

Thankfully, Google says that anybody who already owns an older Titan Key with Bluetooth will be able to continue using their dongle as normal, with Google continuing to honour warranties for any existing devices.

Now, Google says choosing between USB-A and USB-C Titan Key dongles is as simple as picking the one that works with the ports on your computer. Users can rely on NFC when using the Titan Key with their phone, or simply plug it into their computer when using a Titan Key with a laptop or desktop.

The only other difference aside from the connector that comes on the dongle is that the USB-C model costs $US5 ($7) more ($US35 ($48)) than the USB-A version ($US30 ($41)), though Google says the USB-A model does come with a USB-A to USB-C adaptor included.

Google’s Titan Key is based on Google’s Titan chip and was originally launched back in 2018 as Google’s take on similar gadgets from Yubikey and others. And aside from the Titan Key itself, Google has also included the Titan chip in other Google devices going as far back as the Pixel 3 in order to help improve on-device security.

The new Google Titan Key with NFC is available today on the Google Store.