Google publishes Play Protect as separate app for quicker updates
Google Play Protect has been a core security component in Android for several years, acting as an equivalent to Windows Defender and other anti-malware services. It scans installed applications (even those from outside the Play Store) for possible harmful software, and like most Google services on Android, it has been updated through the massive Play Services support library. However, Play Protect has now been split off from Play Services, at least on some phones and tablets.
Google Play Protect now has a separate downloadable app from the Google Play Store. It was previously part of Play, though from my decompilation of the APK it still requires Play Services to function.https://t.co/Osi5vDpKVL
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The app description doesn’t reveal any new information, it simply states what Play Protect already does:
Security starts with Google Play Protect.
Security starts at the application layer with Google Play Protect’s built-in malware defense. Backed by Google’s machine learning, it’s always adapting and improving. Every day, Google Play Protect automatically scans all of the apps on Android phones and works to prevent the installation of harmful apps, making it the most widely deployed mobile threat protection service in the world.
The application doesn’t appear on the Play Store website, but it does show up if you open the app page on an Android device. The message “Your device isn’t compatible with this version” appears for many phones (like my own Galaxy S21), so it seems Google has not finished de-coupling Play Protect from Play Services for all devices — the app appears to only be available for Android 12 devices, at least for now.
Google Play reports there are over 100,000 “downloads” for this separate app, so it’s already been rolled out to a whole bunch of people. However, it still requires Play Services to function, so this won’t work when sideloaded onto devices without Google apps (like recent Huawei devices).
We’ll keep an eye on this new application to see if any changes arrive.