Google says its online anti-malware service Safe Browsing now protects more than three billion devices.
The mostly hidden service for mobile devices and Chrome, Firefox and Safari on the desktop now protects three billion devices from “badness on the internet”. According to Google, that’s up from two billion devices in May 2016.
Google launched the service in 2007 to protect users from drive-by downloads that automatically attack computers through vulnerabilities in browsers and plugins like Flash and Java.
Its rapid expansion over the past year comes mostly from Google’s efforts to push Safe Browsing to mobile devices as well as integrating it with its major services, such as Gmail, where it protects users from malicious messages.
Since 2015, Google has been running a mobile-optimized version of Safe Browsing in Chrome on Android, which now has grown to two billion users, but it also protects users of third-party apps, including Snapchat, which relies on it to check links before sending them on to users.
It probably gained an even bigger boost when Apple enabled Google’s “efficient Safe Browsing updating technology” in Safari in iOS 10 for iPads and iPhones in September 2016.
That month it also started encouraging Android developers to use the Safe Browsing API in Google Play Services. The service is also integral to Google Play Protect for Android devices.
Other ways it’s reaching more devices is via third-party web developers who can integrate it into their web apps.
Over the years Google has expanded protections to include phishing and bad ads behind bogus browser security alerts and made its interstitials — the red, full-page warnings — clearer that a site could be malicious.
As with most of its products, Google is using its research in artificial intelligence to improve Safe Browsing to mobile has been assisted by Google’s artificial intelligence.
Previous and related coverage
In October, Google will begin phase two of its plan to label all HTTP pages as non-secure.
Google vows to do more to prevent a repeat of last week’s fake Docs phishing attack.