Google announced today that it is beginning to roll out the option to enable two-factor authentication for Google and Gmail accounts when signing in. This improves security by invoking both something you know and something you have, in this case your phone. You’ll be able to verify a computer for 30 days, so you don’t have to verify every time you sign on.
You may opt to receive a call or text message from Google with the verification code whenever you login, or generate it yourself with an app on your Android smartphone, Blackberry, or iPhone. The mobile app is called Google Authenticator.
The account setup can conveniently occur with the scan of a barcode, if you have the Barcode app. This is as far as I’m able to get since the two-factor option hasn’t been deployed to my account yet.
Under your account settings, you’ll also find a link to authorizing sites and applications. Once you’ve enabled 2-step verification, you can create application-specific passwords for those devices and apps that aren’t coded to request the second verification factor.
Once two-factor authentication is enabled for your account, you’ll be able to find its settings under your Google Account Settings page, called Using 2-step Verification. You can learn more about the new page under Google’s Support page on the topic.