Google has announced that it plans to roll out a number of improvements to its Safe Browsing service in the coming weeks. The upgrades will warn users about a wider variety of unwanted software, in addition to the warnings they see regarding phishing pages, malware, and other threats.
Safe Browsing is a Google technology that provides lists of URLs for web resources that contain malware or phishing content. Google Chrome, Apple Safari and Mozilla Firefox use the lists from the Safe Browsing service for checking pages against potential threats.
The improvements will reduce installs of 'piggybacked' software, adware and browser toolbars, and apps that spy on a user's internet browsing traffic or send information back to a server without consent.
Moheeb Abu Rajab and Stephan Somogyi, from Google’s Safe Browsing team, said in a post: "Unwanted software is being distributed on web sites via a variety of sources, including ad injectors as well as ad networks lacking strict quality guidelines. In many cases, Safe Browsing within your browser is your last line of defense."
In a bid to alleviate fears that the upgraded service might be used to prevent rival software from being installed, the staffers added that the team’s mandate “remains unchanged” and they were exclusively focused on protecting users from threats.
In May, Google said that Safe Browsing showed 5 million warnings per day and discovered over 50,000 malware sites and over 90,000 phishing sites per month. Following the improvements to the service, it’s likely the number of Chrome, Safari and Firefox users seeing the alerts will increase.