First available on the web, Google has been expanding its Safe Browsing protections that warn users of nefarious sites to Android. Third-party developers will now have the ability to add the same URL checking to their Android apps with the new Safe Browsing API.
Announced at I/O 2016, the device-local Safe Browsing API is available to all Android developers. Google notes that the API is simple and straightforward to use, with the same SafetyNet technology in use that has served hundreds of millions of warnings to millions of mobile users.
It works by determining whether a URL has been marked as a known threat on Google’s constantly updating list. This includes social engineered phishing and deceptive sites that host malware and other unwanted software. If so, a bright red warning page is displayed with the option for users to return to safety.
Conscientious of the constraints of mobile devices, the API keeps battery and bandwidth consumption to a minimum. As Chrome for Android and therefore Chrome Custom Tabs already include this protection, the API is more aimed at apps that have other web browsing capabilities.
The Safe Browsing API is a part of the latest version of Google Play Services, thus allowing all Android developers and older hardware to take advantage of this service.