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Security

Google adds quicker, simpler secure login option

Using two-step verification, you can now just respond to a prompt on your phone to log into your Google account.

Google has cooked up a simpler way to enable a secure log in.

Screenshot by Lance Whitney/CNET

Securely signing into any of your Google accounts has just gotten easier.

On Monday, the search giant unveiled a new option for logging into a Google service, such as Gmail or Google+. Dubbed "Google prompt," the feature lets you use your mobile phone to either approve or deny a request to sign into any of your Google accounts via a computer, Google explained in a blog post.

The new method is a simpler, less clumsy variation on two-factor authentication, which requires you to request and enter a code number in order to log into a secure web page. It offers the same sort of security but eases the process by requiring just a simple tap on your mobile device.

Simplicity of security setup could help thwart hackers who have become adept at compromising supposedly secure websites where they can access your username and other personal information. Using just a simple password to protect your account isn't always sufficient.

To set up Google prompt, open your Google account page. Click on the "Sign in & security" link. At the section for password and sign-in method, turn on 2-step verification and then sign into your Google account.

Follow the next few screens to receive and enter a verification code on your mobile phone from Google. After enabling 2-step verification, click on the "add phone" option under Google prompt. You can opt to add your Android phone, your iPhone or both. Android users need the latest version of Google Play Services, while iPhone owners need to make sure the Google Search app is installed on their device.

Follow the remaining steps to add your phone. After your phone is set up, try logging into a Google account on your computer. After entering your password, Google will flash No and Yes prompts on your mobile phone asking if you're trying to sign in. Simply tap on the Yes prompt, and you're in. From then on, you just need to enter your password and then tap on Yes anytime you need to sign into your Google account.

The new feature will roll out over the next three days, according to Google, which promised to provide more detailed instructions soon.

Google did not immediately respond to CNET's request for comment.