Google's been getting behind two-step verification for a while, and although that's more secure than a standard password, it's also more annoying. Hardly a perfect solution. In a paper to be published later this month in IEEE Security & Privacy Magazine, Google's President of Security Eric Grosse and Engineer Mayank Upadhyay are pitching alternatives like cryptographic card for your USB, or some kind of (presumably NFC) ring.
Google's got some software in the making that'd allow this kind of stuff to log you into a browser without involving any sort of software in the middle, just you and your browser. But even in the best possible future, it won't kill passwords completely. So long as your little key can be separated from you, you'll have to have a PIN or something, and the more conveniently short the PIN, the more important it is you don't loose that key. Still, it beats straight passwords and two-step verification annoyances. And the sooner the password can finally be laid to rest, the better. More here.