Google announced the Play Protect feature back in May during Google I/O 2017 but it is only now that users are finally getting to see the update on the Play Store. Play Protect scans all apps in Google Play to ensure that the apps are safe to be downloaded. Additionally, the new feature also scans apps that are downloaded and in use on your Android smartphone, alerting you if there is any discrepancy in the security settings and if the permissions of the app have changed.
The new update is visible only to a few users and a majority of the users still cannot access it. On opening Google Play, there is a new banner on top talking about the feature and the Google Play protect icon can be found under the ‘Updates’ tab in ‘My Apps and Games’. Some of the apps that have been scanned by Play Protect and passed the test now sport a ‘Verified by Play Protect’ sticker. However, the Play Protect feature is not mandatory for users and can be turned off in the settings. ALSO READ: Google Play Store to start downranking apps with poor performance: Report
On tapping the Play Protect option, the user is automatically directed to the Settings page. Here, a list of the apps that have already been scanned by the new feature can be found. Additionally, the user can also turn off the scan for some trusted apps or send a particular app for testing again. If the Play Protect scan is switched off under Settings, the ‘Updates’ option under ‘My Apps and Games’ automatically disappears. ALSO READ: Google is using AI and machine learning to identify malware apps on the Play Store
Most of Google Security features are now under Play Protect. Google has also integrated Find My Phone under the new feature. Find My Phone helps users locate and secure stolen Android smartphones, lock it remotely as well as erase all data from the smartphone. Over 50 billion apps are scanned regularly and if an app does not pass the test or meet the requirements, Play Protect automatically gives it the boot from the Google Play. Additionally, the update also introduces Safe Browsing mode in Chrome OS. If the user tries to access a malicious website or one that is deemed potentially dangerous, a warning pops up and the user is redirected to the search page again. ALSO READ: Google Play Store v8.0 makes it easier to see what’s new in an app update
Talking about the new feature, Google says, “Backed by the strength of Google, Play Protect brings control to your fingertips while giving guidance along the way. Together, we lay out the ideal security blanket for your mobile device. Consider yourself covered.” Currently, the features are limited only to scanning and Find My Device, although Google is expected to roll out newer features soon. The new update is likely to be visible and available to all Android users in the coming week.