Google has announced that more than 3 billion devices are now protected by its Safe Browsing. This initiative protects users from deceptive sites by displaying a message warning the user about the web page may install unwanted software, or it may reveal personal information like passwords and credit cards. Google has been harnessing the capabilities of machine learning and artificial intelligence in order to protect its users, with the company developing programs like a scalable machine learning-based classifier that can scan millions of web pages a day, and a system which can identify malicious extensions found in the Chrome Web Store. Google has also incorporated Safe Browsing in other consumer products like Search, Gmail, and the Play Store, while this feature is also included in the company’s advertising platform to prevent dangerous websites from being promoted. These features have been in place over the past few years, and it likely saved millions of consumers from identity theft due to phishing websites.
A significant portion of devices protected by the Safe Browsing initiative are mobile devices, and Google has implemented ways to better serve smartphone and tablet users. Google is compressing the data transmitted from its services to mobile devices to better serve people dealing with poor or slow data connections and expensive mobile data plans. To further reduce the data consumed by Safe Browsing, Google is only sending information to mobile devices that are extremely necessary to protect the consumer.The search giant compiles and rolls out a very short update that contains data regarding the riskiest websites, while it is also optimizing the software to use as little memory and processor time as possible. Aside from websites, Safe Browsing also protects the user from “fake buttons” that often fool the user into opening pop-up windows.
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Google has also released APIs that allows developers to implement the Safe Browsing feature into third-party applications. To make the software more appealing to developers and companies, the API is developed to preserve privacy and reduce performance impact. Moreover, third-party browsers like Firefox and Safari are also utilizing this technology to defend consumers from malware infection and phishing attempts. Google promises that this feature will continue to improve, and it will evaluate new approaches to make Safe Browsing better.