Google Play Protect for Android review, manual and guides

Google Play Protect is the first Google’s built-in malware protection for Android smartphones and tablets.

Google Play Protect aims to protect Android users against malicious and dangerous apps from the official Google Play app store.

Google Play protect for Android review

Google Play Protect[1] works by scanning every app you get from the official Google Play app store. In addition, the security app will remain scanning apps after they have been installed, and notify users if there are any security concern about them. Google Play Protect will also verify updates and new installations.

The security app works on its own. It uses Google’s machine learning algorithms for real-time updates.

Google Play Protect will protect the device once it turned on. In order to get protection from Google, open Google Play Store app, Tap Menu, and Play Protect icon. Congratulation, you are using Google Play Protect.[2]

It is worth to mention that Google Play Protect is the most widely deployed mobile security app in the world, which is not a big surprise since it is built-in in every single Android device.

Google Play Protect features

So lets' check how actually effective Google Play Protect is.

Test results

Antivirus protection

Google Play Protect was used on our test device Samsung Galaxy S8 G950F 64GB. According to Google, the application scans and verifies over 50 billion apps every day. It is also being updated in real-time, which allows Google Play Protection to catch even the latest malware.

Play Protect scans billions of apps daily to make sure everything remains spot on. That way, no matter where you download an app from, you know it’s been checked by Google Play Protect.

Even though the apps are scanned before they appear on the official Google Play app store, we know many instances when a downloaded app from the official Google Play store actually infected a countless number of devices. So is Google Play Protect's provided protection reliable?

Google Play Protect does not work like traditional mobile security and antivirus application. Google Play Protect scans apps within the Google Play app store before users download them.

We actually tried Google Play Protect, and it disappoints us a bit. Even though it worked quite well, it did not detect all the malicious apps installed and websites that contain malicious content.

In addition, the independent German-based testing lab, AV-TEST also tested the application in its most recent test May 2018. Google Play Protect demonstrated poor results, as it detected only 54.8% of the latest Android malware in real-time and 66% of the latest widespread Android malware. The industry average is 96.9% and 98.1% respectively.[3]

Additional features

Google Play Protect is a free, built-in app, so it does not offer many additional features. However, what surprised us the most that it includes Anti-Theft features, so if you misplace your device you can use the Find My Device option to find it. Users also can locate missing devices from Google account or directly from the browser. Google allows users to lock the device remotely, display a message on a lock or even wipe it.

Google Play Protect Location services

Moreover, the application includes Safe Browsing protection features for the Google Chrome browser.

System-performance impact

Google Play Protect does not have any negative impact on the device. Once it is on, users probably will not even notice any slowdowns or interruptions.

In addition, according to AV-TEST, Google Play Protect does not impact the battery life and does not slow down the device during normal usage. The app also does not generate too much traffic. When it comes to false positives, Google Play Protect did not deliver a single one in the test.

As it was mentioned before, Google Play Protect does not work as a traditional antivirus and does not perform scans like we used to see on third-party security applications.

Customer support

Google Play Protect does not offer live help, however, users can use Android’s customer support.

In addition, Google offers a webpage with all the main information for users, such as recommendation, management of security settings and updates.

Google Play protect tablet securityUser interface

Google Play Protect is simple and easy to use. As it does not have much to offer, all the options and features are easily accessible within a couple clicks.

Feature Score
Antivirus protection Poor
Security and Privacy features Minimal
Scanning performance No Scans
System-performance hit Minimal
User interface Simple

The final verdict

Google Play Protect is a free, built-in application protects Android users against malicious apps, protects while they are browsing the Internet and provides Anti-Theft features. However, the protection is not quite reliable. In fact, we would recommend users to use a third-party security application for complete protection. There are plenty of free apps that offer better security and antivirus rates.

About the author
Jake Doevan
Jake Doevan - Computer security guru

Jake Doe is a security expert and news editor of His major is Communication and Journalism, which he obtained from the Washington and Jefferson College.

Contact Jake Doevan
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