Google extends Safe Browsing to Chrome for Android

A Google Chrome Safe Browsing warning on desktop.

Google today announced that it has brought the Safe Browsing web security feature of Chrome to Android. The feature is turned on by default for Android devices running Play Services version 8.1 and version 46 of Chrome or later.

This might sound trivial, but Safe Browsing needs to stay comprehensive and up to date in order to keep people from visiting dangerous websites. And that might mean only sending a brief update to stop people from unwittingly ending up at the riskiest sites known to Google, particularly phishing sites. Google is even relying on compression in order to keep data small — because Google doesn’t want to use up people’s mobile data plans unnecessarily.

“We hunt badness on the Internet so that you don’t discover it the hard way, and our protection should never be an undue burden on your networking costs or your device’s battery. As more of the world relies on the mobile web, we want to make sure you’re as safe as can be, as efficiently as possible,” Noé Lutz, Nathan Parker, and Stephan Somogyi of Google’s Chrome and Safe Browsing teams wrote in a blog post today.

Of course, apps can present security risks, too. And the Google Play Store has security features built in. But now Google is doing more to protect people from malware, phishing, and other dangers in the Chrome browser.

And Safe Browsing could well end up doing more for Android device owners. “The first app to use it is Chrome,” as Lutz, Parker, and Somogyi wrote.

You can verify that Safe Browsing is running on your Android device by going to the Chrome’s Settings section and visiting the Privacy section.

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