Chrome has a surprising amount of features that are hidden or not well known that can offer a great deal of functionality for users. One of these features, is a built-in password generator that can be used to create strong passwords when creating new accounts and a password manager called Smart Lock that stores these passwords on Google.com so that you can retrieve them later.

With the constant stream of reported data breaches, it should come as no surprise that it is important to use unique and strong passwords at every site you visit. Unfortunately, remembering a unique password for each site you use is a daunting, if not impossible, task without the use of password manager. 

While there are plenty of password managers available with more features, if you are a fan of Chrome and Google and want an all-in-one solution, then Chrome's built-in password generator and the Smart Lock manager may be the solution you are looking for.

Enabling Chrome's Strong Password Generator

In order to use Chrome's password generator and manager, you first need to enabled password synchronization by logging into Chrome using your Google account. To do this, go into Chrome's settings (chrome://settings) and click on the "Sign in to Chrome" link as shown below.

Chrome Sign-in Page
Chrome Sign-in Page

Once you sign in, you will be shown a prompt stating synchronization has been enabled. The settings screen will also show you as signed in with Sync set to On.

Logged into Chrome

Now we need to enable password generation using the experimental features screen. To access this screen, type chrome://flags in the Chrome address bar and you will be shown a list of experimental features you can enable.

chrome://flags screen
chrome://flags screen

In the "Search flags" field, type password and you should see a new flag called "Password generation". Set this flag to Enabled and Chrome will display an alert stating that you need to relaunch the browser. Click on the "Relaunch Now" button to do so.

Enabled Password Generation and Relaunch Browser
Enabled Password Generation and Relaunch Browser

Once Chrome has restarted, the feature will be enabled and we can use Chrome to generate strong passwords.

Generating Passwords with Chrome at Account Creation Screens

Now that we have the "Password generation" flag enabled, if Google recognizes a password field on an account creation screen and you click in the field, it should automatically generate the password for you and display it. Unfortunately, Chrome does not always do a good job detecting these types of fields and does not generate a password.

In this case, you will need to right-click in Chrome and select "Generate  password..." as shown in the context menu below.

Generate password... Context Menu
Generate password... Context Menu

Once you generate a password, Chrome will display a dialog box showing the generated password.

Generated Password
Generated Password

If you click on the password, it will automatically be inserted into both the password and password confirmation fields. This password will also be saved to Google's Smart Lock password manager so that Chrome, and other devices you are logged into, can automatically log you into the site the next time you visit.

Password Saved to Smart Lock

To see a list of passwords stored in Smart Lock you can either go to https://passwords.google.com or to the chrome://settings/passwords page in Chrome.

Using Google's Smart Lock Password Manager

Whenever you generate a password or log into an account and save your password, the password and account information is saved into Google's Smart Locker password manager. This allows Chrome to automatically insert a saved username and password into a site's login form when you visit the site in the future.

You can also tell if Smart Lock has a saved password for the site you are at as it will display a little key in the address bar as shown below.

Smart Lock Key
Smart Lock Key

If you have multiple accounts at a site, you can select which account you wish to login with by clicking on the key. Once clicked, it will display all saved accounts for the particular site you are trying to login to.

Select Account
Select Account

To manage your stored passwords you can either go to https://passwords.google.com or to the chrome://settings/passwords page in Chrome. From here you can disable auto sign-in, view any saved passwords, and saved account credentials. Unfortunately, unless a username was saved at the same time as the password, there is no way to edit it later.

Saved Passwords
Saved Passwords

While Chrome's password generator and Smart Lock password manager are good for most people, it definitely has some shortcomings compared to full featured password managers. For example, you can't add a username if one wasn't originally saved with the password, you can't edit a password and instead have to delete and resave the entire account, and you cannot organize your saved passwords.

For those types of features, you would want to use a full featured password manager product such as LastPass, Dashlane, & KeePass. If all you need is the ability to save unique passwords at each site you visit and be automatically sign into them, then Chrome's password manager does the job well.

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