Google could be tackling malware problem with baked-in Google Play scanner (plus other imminent Play Store changes)


As with any popular operating system Android has unfortunately been the target of many different attacks. Malware, while not a huge problem for most individuals, is still a scary, sticky situation and it must be handled with effective care.

While Google’s done a great job of keeping things clean with things like a kill switch and the “bounder,” new evidence suggests it’s readying even more systems to protect users from malicious apps.

According to code found in the Google Play Store APK Android may soon get a function that will scan any apps you download, and possibly any you have already installed. Google already does a bit of this on their end when a developer uploads an app, but this sounds like a more effective way to handle things if a malicious app happens to fall through the cracks.

String values found inside the APK tipped folks off to the forthcoming functionality. It looks like users will be able to opt-in and opt-out at their own discretion, and Google will make installation recommendations depending on what the scanner finds inside the code of the APK.

Google would maintain its own definitions database we imagine, and considering how quickly and accurately they react to malware already there should be little doubt regarding user protection.

Further evidence inside the latest Play Store APK also shows Google is getting closer to launching its wishlist feature we’ve heard about before. You’ll be able to add and remove items from the wishlists, of course, and the string values seem to hint that all of the Play Store’s content will be supported.

There are standard error messages littered in there, as well, but we’d say there’s nothing to worry about there. Should Google impose a wishlist limit we’re sure the cap wouldn’t be short enough to be a problem for anyone. The server could deny a request sometimes so these toast messages are just standard practices of error handling.

Another key change will be regarding your Play Store balance. Right now you can only add to your balance using a gift card or through promotions like the $25 credit deal for buying the Nexus 7 that recently expired, but string values suggest you’ll be able to top-up right on the device. This would help those who want to use the Play Store balance functionality but don’t really want to buy the cards from retail stores for whatever reason.

Unfortunately trying to figure out when Google is planning to launch these features is a task that’s even more tough than pulling these string values and resources out. Regardless, we’re happy to get any sort of insight so there’s no room for complaints on our end.

We’ve watched the Android Market go through a lot of changes, but a lot of those changes were purely cosmetic (which was important considering how it looked when Android first got started). Google has been a lot more diligent with the Google Play Store in terms of adding helpful features like these and I don’t need to tell you how much of a difference it makes in providing a blissful downloading experience. Any of you opposed to any of these changes? Let’s hear it below!

Quentyn Kennemer
The "Google Phone" sounded too awesome to pass up, so I bought a G1. The rest is history. And yes, I know my name isn't Wilson.

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  1. All sounds good to me, especially if they let you opt out or opt in.

  2. Sounds good, but we all know people will still call out Google and Android because of the potential of recieving spyware/malware from illegally downloading apps from some random place online rather then buying it from the play store….

    1. Mac vs PC all over again

      1. And we know who won that one, don’t we….

  3. Must need option. Let’s Google stay fair but stamp out the bad.

  4. Google always on the ball…

  5. And by “bounder” you mean “bouncer” :P

  6. Oh good, I welcome this news. I have both Norton and Lookout security on my smartphone.

  7. Sounds good. Just noticed that my play store updated.

  8. Let us sync our save data in apps/games across our Android devices, then it will be perfect!

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