Google has launched version 4 of its Safe Browsing API. The new release specifically addresses constraints presented by mobile environments without sacrificing levels of protection desktop users have come to enjoy. As expected, the launch of version 4 will start the deprecation process of versions 2 and 3.
From its original launch in 2007, the Safe Browsing API has largely addressed Web browsing from desktop environments. The evolution towards mobile browsing has hit full speed and the change commanded API adjustments. Limited power, network bandwidth, and questionable quality of service represent common hurdles in a mobile browsing scenario. Version 4 focuses on optimization within the mobile environment so that users can browse efficiently without sacrificing security. Additionally, optimization ensures that data use is minimized to keep costs down.
Features that specifically address mobile concerns include geographic location constraints, platform restrictions, and data caps. While most new features address the mobile market, the API will continue to play its key role in a desktop environment. With a specific focus on mobile, Google expects version 4 will expand upon the 2 billion internet-connected devices that currently rely on Safe Browsing for protection against security threats.
The new protocol has actually been in production via the Safe Browsing client on Android since last December (available as part of Google Play Services). Chrome, the first app to utilize the client, already protects millions of Android Chrome users starting with Chrome version 46. Since a single device should only have one instance of Safe Browsing data, Google is working on a device-local API. Google discourages developers from implementing their own version of a version 4 client. Google will make an announcement of the device-local API as soon as it can. For more information, check out the reference client implementation.