Back at Google I/O in June, the Android team made it clear that security was certainly a watchword for 2016. They announced that they would be bringing a device-local Safe Browsing API to Android developers, and today the security team has finally announced that it’s available.
In their blog post announcement, the team made it clear that the API is very accessible and easy to use, hopefully encouraging many devs to adopt and make use of its capabilities. All developers will have access to this API beginning with Google Play Services version 9.4.
The service provides an API your app can use to determine whether a particular URL has been classified by Google as a known threat. Internally, SafetyNet implements a client for the Safe Browsing Network Protocol v4 developed by Google. Both the client code and the v4 network protocol were designed to preserve users’ privacy, as well as keep battery and bandwidth consumption to a minimum. This API allows you to take full advantage of Google’s Safe Browsing service on Android in the most resource-optimized way, and without having to implement its network protocol.
The security team notes that this is just one step in an ongoing process to make browsing on Android safer and safer. Previously the team updated their documentation for Safe Browsing Protocol Version 4 and made client-side Safe Browsing a reality.
Since implementing these changes, the team reports that they’ve shown hundreds of millions of warnings cautioning users about risks that previously may have slipped by undetected.
As more and more Android vulnerabilities fly through the headlines – many of them unnecessarily scary – and the fragmentation of the Android ecosystem increases, monthly security updates and other security measures are becoming an increased priority.
What do you think of Google’s device-local Safe Browsing API? Check out the main page on Android Developers for the full scoop, and let us know your take in the comments below!