A couple of months ago, I called on security gurus like Verisign (Nasdaq: VRSN), McAfee (NYSE: MFE), and EMC's (NYSE: EMC) RSA Security to get together and figure out a way to handle online logins that is better than easily hackable passwords.

This week, Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) steps up to the plate to take a serious swing at the problem. Dang, that was fast.

Big G has enabled a two-factor login option for business-grade users of Google applications like Gmail and Google Docs. The idea is simple: Logging in with the new feature turned on will require something you know (your password) and something you have (your phone). After the password is accepted by Google's login process, a numerical code will be generated. You can get that code by SMS or a voice call (great if you're the last Luddite without a cell phone), or run an application on your phone that generates the same code.

This is a much more secure way of doing things than a simple username and password, because no hacker is likely to have stolen your dang cell phone. If that happens, other companies are doing their part too: Both Verizon (NYSE: VZ) and Deutsche Telekom's (Other OTC: DTEGY.PK) T-Mobile now have services to help wipe a stolen or lost phone clean of sensitive data from the comfort of your own desktop. If that wasn't enough, Androids and Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL) iPhones of recent vintage as well as every BlackBerry comes with similar remote-wipe features built in. It's all based on accepted standards of the security industry, and will feel instantly familiar to those used to logging in with RSA's digital keys.

Smartphones not named BlackBerry are slowly becoming serious business tools, and in this case they also aid Google's quest to enter the corporate computing world with its cloud services. More security is always a good thing, and this feature may well lead to plenty of new business for Google that relies on subscription fees rather than advertising revenue.

Fool contributor Anders Bylund holds no position in any of the companies discussed here. Google is a Motley Fool Inside Value selection. Google is a Motley Fool Rule Breakers pick. Apple is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor recommendation. The Fool owns shares of Apple and Google. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. True to its name, The Motley Fool is made up of a motley assortment of writers and analysts, each with a unique perspective; sometimes we agree, sometimes we disagree, but we all believe in the power of learning from each other through our Foolish community. You can check out Anders' holdings and a concise bio if you like, and The Motley Fool is investors writing for investors.