Hands on with Google’s new Titan Security Keys – and why they still have their place

Google's updated Titan security keys.

Google’s updated Titan Security Keys.

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNET

ZDNET’s key takeaways

  • Google’s updated Titan security keys are available now with prices starting at $30.
  • Updated keys all feature NFC and can store up to 250 passkeys.
  • The USB-C key is quite bulky, as is the USB-A to USB-C adapter that comes with the USB-A key.

While passkeys are all the rage right now, a smartphone or other device-based solution isn’t for everyone, which means there’s still a place for physical security keys.

Google’s response is to announce an update to its Titan line of security keys, bringing them up to date by adding some much-needed features.

Also: What are passkeys? Experience the life-changing magic of going passwordless

If you’re new to security keys, you should think of them as an additional line of defense for your online life. A hacker might have compromised your password, but without access to your physical security key, their ill-gotten gain is valueless.

Google Titan security keys


Google Titan Security Keys

Google’s Titan Security Keys are built with bespoke firmware that is used to verify the key hasn’t been tampered with. 

There are two new Titan keys in the line — coming in USB-A and USB-C flavors. Both are FIDO2 compatible, which means the devices are compatible with the broadest number of websites and online services, and both have enough built-in storage to store up to 250 unique passkeys. 

Google Titan Security Keys tech specs

USB-A/NFC Security Key

  • Length: 1.7 inches (43.9mm)
  • Width: 0.8 inches (20.8mm)
  • Height: 0.1 inches (3.1mm)
  • Color: White
  • Materials: ABS, Calcium carbonate
  • For use with computers that have USB-A or USB-C ports. Will also work with most Android and iOS devices that support USB or NFC.

USB-C/NFC Security Key

  • Length: 2.0 inches (50.9mm)
  • Width: 0.7 inches (18.5mm)
  • Height: 0.3 inches (7.0mm)
  • Color: White
  • Materials: Polycarbonate + Zinc Alloy
  • For use with newer computers that have USB-C ports. Will also work with most Android and iOS devices that support USB or NFC.
Rear of Google Titan security keys -- USB-C on the left, USB-A on the right.

Rear of Google Titan Security Keys — USB-C on the left, USB-A on the right.

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNET

Also, the USB-A version comes with a USB-A to USB-C adapter.

Also: The best security keys to protect yourself and your business

That adapter means the key can be used on modern devices, which makes it a future-proof purchase.   

Google Titan USB-C security key.

The USB-C Google Titan Security Key.