After writing about passwordless logins I got an email from Lastpass. I have used Lastpass for years. it is one of group of password manager products. These also include names like Dashlane and 1Password. All share the same ambition - to manage your ever increasing number of website passwords. They use browser extensions and mobile apps to record your login and then automatically login later.
The password managers need one master password and then they can generate a complex password for you for every site you visit. You can then manage the security of being online with less fear of being hacked. Add in a second authentication method and your online accounts are getting more secure.
Lastpass has had a free option for years plus a paid premium tier. The free tier allowed both their PC browser extension to work in harmony with their mobile app. However, Lastpass is now owned by LogMeIn, the remote access company. This week they announced that you can choose to have your passwords remembered on a PC or mobile but not both on the free tier. A nudge towards paying a monthly subscription. Moving from free to paid is always painful for users. They have to start questioning the value of a thing they use.
By coincidence I was already been moving from Lastpass. The Microsoft Edge browser, like Google's Chrome, has supported saving passwords for a long time. it syncs them with your Microsoft Account (MSA). A Microsoft Account is free and you have one if you have an Outlook.com, Live.com or Hotmail.com address. The missing element was support for filling in passwords on mobile.
Microsoft published an announcement in their tech community and a blog entry announcing autofill. This is the link between the PC browser and mobile. It even works with Edge on MacOs.
Microsoft autofill is in the early stages. It lacks the ability to generate complex passwords as just one example of features that it lacks. However, in a world that needs users to get protection online from day one it's a good move for people using Microsoft products and services.