GOOGLE has injected real-time threat detection code into its Play Protect feature so that it acts more like an antivirus software.
It has been designed to protect Android users when sideloading apps from outside the Google Play Store.
Despite being just six years old, Play Protect scans 50billion apps for malware per day – more than six times the number of people on Earth.
It already scans apps uploaded to the Play Store in real-time.
And it can screen apps if Android users manually action it.
But the latest update to the feature automates the scanning process for sideloaded apps – apps that aren't from an official source.
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This means an app is checked over for any dodgy code as people install them – instead of after, if the Android user is savvy enough.
Android owners are often advised to avoid sideloading apps, particularly from untrustworthy sites or sources with bad reviews.
These apps can often act as Trojans for all sorts of nasty malware.
However, Google has attempted to make this process safer for Android owners.
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The new feature is not yet available to most users.
It's expected to be rolled out with an update of the Play Store app, titled 37.5, later this month.
Some Android users say Google should have taken this precaution a long time ago.
While others accuse the tech giant of wanting to turn Android into Apple's iOS, which bans the sideloading of "unknown" apps.
Android users who use the process to install modified apps – versions of popular apps that allow them to do things the originals don't – fear the update could spell the end of sideloading altogether.
"Seems they will kill mod apps irrespective of threat or not," one Android user wrote on X (formerly Twitter).
"Android trying to become iOS now. Should just disable sideload instead of slowly killing open development."
Another wrote: "Might be the end of sideloading if they further restrict app installation without their server-side scanning."
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