In addition to providing users with a variety of new features in the upcoming Windows 8 platform, Microsoft is also keen on ensuring that their data remains safe and that there are various ways in which they can protect their personal information.
One of these is picture password, a feature that should offer users a better experience when it comes to signing into their computers, while adding an extra level of security.
The feature is available only for devices that feature touchscreens and consists of performing specific gestures on a photo to unlock the computer.
Of course, users can continue using long passwords or PINs to lock their devices, but having gestures on a picture set as the security measure on a device can prove an easier and also funnier way to deal with keeping files on a device private.
Zach Pace, a program manager on Microsoft’s You Centered Experience team, explains what the said picture password function is all about, both in the video embedded at the bottom of this article and in a post on Building Windows 8.
Typing long passwords could prove troublesome at specific times, especially when you are in a hurry and when the password contains letters, numbers, capital letter and symbols. At the same time, a PIN might not prove the best solution, since it only made of numbers.
“At its core, your picture password is comprised of two complimentary parts. There is a picture from your picture collection and a set of gestures that you draw upon it,” Zach Pace explains.
“Instead of having you pick from a canned set of Microsoft images, you provide the picture, because it increases both the security and the memorability of the password.
“You get to decide the content of the picture and the portions that are important to you. Plus, you get to see a picture that is important to you just like many people do on their phone lock screen.”
The picture password feature is also based on the highlighting of a series of parts of an image that prove important to users, while also focusing on the gesture that was performed.
Users can perform three gestures when setting such a password, including the drawing of circles and lines, or tapping specific points in the image. Directionality is of key importance here, as the gesture has to be performed in exactly the same manner it was performed in the first place.
The image selected to create the password is divided into a grid. The longest dimension of an image will be comprised of 100 segments.
“To set up your picture password, you then place your gestures on the field we create. Individual points are defined by their coordinate (x, y) position on the grid. For the line, we record the starting and ending coordinates, as well as the order in which they occur,” the said blog post explains.
“We use the ordering information to determine the direction the line was drawn in. For the circle, we record a center point coordinate, the radius of the circle, and its directionality. For the tap, we record the coordinate of the touch point.”
When the user tries to sign in with Picture Password, the machine will evaluate the gestures and compare it to the gestures that were provided when the password was set. Based on the amount of errors in the set, users will be able to authenticate or not.
You can have a look at the video embedded below to learn some more info on how the feature works on a touch-enabled Windows 8 device.
I know people are just gushing over stuff like this, but for me at least, its the same as this 3D craze, and the Kinect...just another gimmick. Don't get me wrong, I'm not totally against tech like Kinect and touch interfaces because they do have real world and useful applications, but most of the stuff they are marketed towards consumers for is, imo, gimmicks that I have no interest in.