As good as Google is about reviewing the apps that find their way into the halls of the Google Play Store, malicious code still manages to find its way inside. Granted, not nearly at the same rate you see in third party app stores, but it still happens. Google takes that seriously, and has just rolled out a new feature to help minimize its impact on the company’s massive user base.

Called the “Play Protect App,” it’s not something that has to be installed independently, and exists as an integral part of the store. It’s always on, which means it’s always working.

The app has three primary functions:

• Browser Protection
• App Scanning
• Anti-Theft Measures

The browser protection manifests itself via the “Safe Browsing” feature inside Chrome. The thinking is that since your web browser is the likeliest means by which malicious code will find its way onto your smart device, the more layers of protection you have here, the better.

The new app will alert you to any potential problems or hazards associated with questionable sites, making them easier to avoid.

The App-Scanning feature constantly trolls the Play Store database and utilizes machine learning to constantly scan and analyze every app on the store, looking for trends that have been identified as red flags where suspicious apps are concerned.

The Anti-Theft measures take the form of a new “Find My Device” feature that takes the place of the Android Device Manager. Using the new feature, you can remotely call, lock or locate your Android, and/or selectively delete data on your phone to keep it from falling into unfriendly hands.

As good as these new features are, no system is fool proof, and malicious apps will still manage to find their way past these new gateways. Even so, kudos to Google for prioritizing the issue and helping keep all of us a little bit safer.

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