Google sets Safe Browsing in WebView by default

Google sets Safe Browsing in WebView by default

Launched in 2007 Google Safe Browsing was designed to offer extra layers of protection against phishing and malware attacks. It is available to all users across the web, and Google boasts to delivers protection to more than three billion devices.

From this month Google has announced that Safe Browsing will be extended to WebView by default. This is through Google Play Protect and is now available with last month’s arrival of WebView 66.


I know what you’re thinking, WebView? What is that! Don’t you just love technical jargon.

According to the great and the good WebView is a file library provided by companies such as Google and Apple that makes it possible for developers to display web content inside ‘native’ apps.

WebView helps improve the users experience as it means that end-users don’t need to close down apps in order to open a link with a native browser.

WebView has had some serious security vulnerabilities in the past but with advancements in web technologies such as HTML, developers are now building what are called ‘hybrid’ apps.

These are usually built into native apps and the WebView acts as a framework for the app and will work across most mobile operating systems.

Safe Browsing

Safe Browsing is designed to warn users when they are about to access a suspicious website or download a malicious software.

Over the last few years Google has made improvements to Safe Browsing and has made the technology available for Android and MacOS. And it offers protection from unwanted software across both desktop and mobile platforms.

The new availability of Safe Browsing in WebView means that all Android apps using the platform will deliver new security benefits.

Today, we’re announcing that Google Play Protect is bringing Safe Browsing to WebView by default, starting in April 2018 with the release of WebView 66. Developers of Android apps using WebView no longer have to make any changes to benefit from this protection.

- Nate Fischer: Software Engineer, Google

Safe Browsing in WebView was introduced with the release of the Android 8.0 and developers can now take advantage of the same technology as Chrome on Android to keep users safe from any threats on the web.

WebView will now present a warning and receive a network error when Safe Browsing is triggered. And Google offers details on how to customise and control Safe Browsing through the Android API documentation.

And Google provides app developers with a Safe Browsing test URL, so they are able to check their apps are using the current WebView beta.

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A veteran freelance journalist writing extensively on internet news and cybersecurity.
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