Google has always maintained that Android is safe, even if many users – and researchers – don’t agree with it. So at I/O in Mountain View, the company moved t allay security fears over the Android and launched a new service called Play Protect. Part of the Google Play, the Protect will overtly scan apps on a phone and let users find out if there are rogue and dangerous apps running in the background on their phones.
The Protect will be inbuilt inside the Play, the app through which Android users download apps.
Edward Cunningham, product manager at Android security, says that Google already does enough to keep Android safe. He says that Google’s security servers constantly scan and keep an eye on the Play store that there are no rogue apps in it. “With more than 50 billion apps scanned every day, our machine learning systems are always on the lookout for new risks, identifying potentially harmful apps and keeping them off your device or removing them. All Google Play apps go through a rigorous security analysis even before they’re published on the Play Store,” he says.
But Google acknowledges that there are areas that can be improved. At the same time, there is the perception that Google Android is not very safe, and definitely not as safe as Apple’s iOS. “We know you want to be confident that your Android devices are safe and secure,” says Cunningham.
This is the perception which Google seem to be tackling with the Play protect. By putting a specific security feature in the phone, and giving users control to scan any app at will, Google is trying to bolster people’s perception in the Android.
The Play Protect will also allow users to scan the apps that have been downloaded from the web and not from the Play store. “Play Protect warns you about bad apps that are downloaded from other sources too. Play Protect watches out for any app that might step out of line on your device, keeping you and every other Android user safe,” says Cunningham.
Although Google has always maintained that Android is very safe, the Android security is a touchy topic with users, especially in countries like India. This is one of the reasons why almost every Android phone in India nowadays comes with a security app pre-installed on it. These apps look similar to the security apps that people have seen on their computers. These apps also claim to offer features like virus scanner, firewall and others that are familiar to consumers.
Although in most cases, these are useless apps given the fact that seem to inspire confidence among users, they are very popular and it seems that with protect Google is trying to keep users away from the so called Android virus scanners that in most cases are nothing more than snake oil.
How to get Play Protect
As mentioned earlier, the Play Protect is part of the Play store. so if you have the Play store on your phone, as soon as this apps gets updated, you will get the Play protect on your phone. Considering this is Google we are talking about, it might be a few days, or even weeks, before the Play Protect is added to you Play store app.
Once the Protect feature has been added you will be able to access it through:
— Open the Play app on your phone
— Map on the menu, which are three lines on the left of the screen. From menu, select Protect.
Disclaimer: The reporter’s travel and stay for this event in Mountain View, California have been arranged by Google.