Google Authenticator is Finally Useful, But Why Now?

Ariel Ariel
Apr. 28

This is a single insight from This Week in Apps - Drop Everything and Do This!. Check out the full article for more insights.

Google finally made its Authenticator app useful by adding the ability to sync accounts across devices and also changing its icon in the process to look like a real member of the Google Family of apps.

Why do that after so many years of just coasting?


The most popular authenticator app in terms of downloads right now is Microsoft Authenticator. It made its way into 5.5M iOS and Android devices in March, according to our estimates.

Google's saw 4.2M downloads. Not that far off, but March was a good month for Google! In October of last year, Microsoft saw 6.7M downloads for its authenticator app while Google saw 3.6M. Nearly a half.

So far in 2023, Microsoft is leading with 19.1M downloads vs. 14.7M for Google. But when we zoom in on the App Store, where Google doesn't have a competitive advantage, Microsoft is winning nearly 2 to 1 with 10.4M downloads vs 5.9M.

Demand for authenticator apps is growing more rapidly now as more and more platforms start requiring 2-factor authentication to log in.

I expect that by the end of the year, most people who use online platforms will need an authenticator app to exist online. Even the less technical folks.

When looking at the trend of downloads and the choice between Microsoft and Google, it's clear Google hasn't lost the race but is close to losing it. And that's with it being the favorite on Android devices for obvious reasons.

It looks like Google got ahead of this just in time to not become irrelevant, but there's no guarantee this change can undo the neglect.

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All figures included in this report are estimated. Unless specified otherwise, estimated revenue is always net, meaning it's the amount the developer earned after Apple and Google took their fee.

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