New 'picture password' system will combine your own pictures with unique gestures of your choosing.

Windows 8 to offer ‘picture password’ log in

Windows 8 will offer a new way to log in via a ‘picture password’ system that will combine images from the user’s own collection with a unique touchscreen gesture.

In another mammoth post on the Buildings Windows 8 Blog, Zach Pace wrote that the picture password is designed to highlight the parts of images which are important. The software giant arrived at the selected gestures by conducting a study which showed how people preferred to indicate relationships on images.

"What we found were people doing three basic things: indicating location, connecting areas or highlighting paths, and enclosing areas," said Pace.

"We mapped these ideas to tap, line, and circle, respectively. It’s the minimal set of gestures we found that allowed people to signify the parts of the image most important to them."

Strangely the company didn’t mention whether anyone chose to indicate relationships by, say, drawing a crude set of male genitals. Obviously Microsoft is far too serious for that sort of thing.

Instead Microsoft went into excruciating detail as to how difficult it is to crack one of these visual gesture passwords, concluding that they were "very happy with the robustness" of the system.

"Through our research and refinement of both the experience and the concept, we believe we’ve hit on a method of signing in that’s secure but also a lot of fun to use," said Pace.

"We love picture password and the additional personal flavor it brings to Windows 8, and we hope you do too!"

Microsoft also posted a video showing off the feature although naturally they refused to upload it to YouTube so it would actually be useful. You can find it at the bottom of the blog post.

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