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Yes, Google has a yet another rebrand. This time, Google is pooling in all of its Android-related security features and putting them under a new umbrella: Google Play Protect. This means there’s a new home and name for some of the features you’re already familiar with. Plus new features based on new security technologies.

Android is often perceived as being less secure and more prone to malware How Does Malware Get Into Your Smartphone? How Does Malware Get Into Your Smartphone? Why do malware purveyors want to infect your smartphone with an infected app, and how does malware get into a mobile app in the first place? Read More and virus infections. Some of that’s true. With this new initiative, Google is taking steps to educate users as to what’s safe and what isn’t.

Google Play Protect is rolling out to all Android devices that are running Google Play Services 11 or higher.

What Exactly Does Google Play Protect Do?

Google Play Protect is supposed to be the all-things-security pack 6 Android Security Apps You Should Install Today 6 Android Security Apps You Should Install Today Android security apps - capable of blocking malware and phishing attempts - are necessary if you wish to run a safe and secure smartphone. Let's look at some of the best Android security apps currently... Read More for Android. Right now it does three things: app scanning, browser safety, and device tracking.

Play Protect is a cluster of security checks and certifications. Previously, Google had featured badges for verified developers as a way to signal that everything was okay. When you see the new Play Protect logo, Google hopes it will have the same effect.

Google Play Protect Product Shots 2

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At its core, Play Protect is meant to be a real-time scanner for all apps How to Remove a Virus from Android Without a Factory Reset How to Remove a Virus from Android Without a Factory Reset If your Android phone or tablet is infected with a virus or malware, it is possible to clean it up without losing your data -- here's how. Read More . That includes that app you’re about to install from the Play Store, as well as the app you’ve already been using for a couple of years. Google will do this behind the scenes, and automatically. When something’s wrong, it will try to get your attention.

More interesting is how Google scans apps. Google is using its artificial intelligence prowess 5 Best Google AI Experiments to Explore Artificial Intelligence 5 Best Google AI Experiments to Explore Artificial Intelligence Google has several AI experiments that you can go and play with, right now. Thanks to machine learning, they can change tomorrow's world with your help. Read More to pool in app scan data from millions of devices. According to Google, 50 billion apps are scanned every day. Because of the sheer amount of data being processed, Google knows which apps are behaving unusually. It can then help you get rid of those apps. You’ll get a notification saying the app is harmful. Tap on Uninstall in the notification itself and the app will be removed from your device.

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Even though Google promises that every app developer is vetted before the app is uploaded to the Play Store, the reality is quite different. Compared to the Apple’s App Store, it’s still relatively trivial to get an Android app up and running on the Play Store. While there’s no word if Google is working on improving the app approval process, the fact that apps are now scanned so rigorously should help Google detect malware before it has already spread across millions of devices.

Two existing features — Chrome’s Safe Browsing protection 7 Chrome for Android Settings to Improve Your Browser 7 Chrome for Android Settings to Improve Your Browser These simple but little-known tweaks will make your Chrome browsing experience so much better on Android. Read More and Android Device Manager (now called Find My Device How to Trace a Mobile Phone Location from an Android Device How to Trace a Mobile Phone Location from an Android Device Lost an Android phone or an iPhone? Don't worry. It's really easy to find any device just using an Android smartphone or tablet. Read More ) are also now rolled into Google Play Protect.

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Where to Locate Google Play Protect

Once it’s rolled out, you’ll find the Play Protect setting buried inside the Google section of your Settings app.

Open the Settings app, select Google > Security, and you’ll see the Google Play Protect section at the bottom. It will tell you how long it’s been since the last scan.

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Tap on it and you’ll see the detailed screen of which apps were scanned recently.

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To find the feature in the Play Store, slide out the sidebar from the left side and look for Play Protect.

Android Device Manager Becomes Find My Device

It’s a rebrand inside a rebrand! Welcome to a rebrand sandwich. Once your phone has been updated with the new app, you can go to android.com/find to locate, lock, or erase your Android phone.

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Download the app, log in with your Google account, give the app location access and you’re all set. As you’ll notice, the Google Play Protect branding is all over the new app.

Download: Find My Device (Free)

Play Protect Doesn’t Disrupt Side-Loaded Apps

If you’re an Android enthusiast and you like to download modded apps that aren’t available on the Play Store 10 Best Android Apps Not in the Play Store 10 Best Android Apps Not in the Play Store The Play Store isn't the end-all-be-all of Android apps. If you've never ventured outside of it, you're really missing out. Read More , you might be concerned by Google Play’s passive scanning efforts. Right now, Play Protect isn’t automatically flagging every single sideloaded app How to Sideload Any File onto Your Android Phone or Tablet How to Sideload Any File onto Your Android Phone or Tablet You may have come across the term "sideloading" before, but what does it mean? And how can you go about sideloading apps or files? Read More or APK file as a malware. Although if a sideloaded app is actually harmful, and Google has the scanned data to support the claim, you’ll get a notification about it.

So don’t worry, this isn’t Google trying to turn Android into something like iOS. Also, the best way to make sure your Android phone doesn’t get infected is to only install apps from Play Store. And even then, be diligent about app developers The Android Beginner's Guide: How to Set Up Your First Smartphone The Android Beginner's Guide: How to Set Up Your First Smartphone If you're just getting started with your first Android smartphone, this in-depth guide has everything you need to know. Read More before downloading apps. Make sure you’re downloading the official version of popular apps.

How to Disable Google Play Protect

If you’re on a rooted device, or if you’re getting way too many false positives, there’s a way to turn off this feature.

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Open the Settings app, select Google > Security > Play Protect, and turn off the Scan device for security threats toggle.

Only Time Will Tell

It’s great to see Google taking steps to curb malware and rogue apps on Android. And Google certainly has the technology to pull it off. But it remains to see how this will work out. Does this artificial intelligence method work just as well as Apple’s human plus automation process? We’ll find out when next year’s security reports come out.

What do you think of Google Play Protect? Do you think Google has chosen the right method? Share with us in the comments below.

Image Credit: ESB Professional via Shutterstock.com

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