It seems like every other day there’s a new story about some new virus, spyware, or other malware-ridden app finding its way into the Google Android Market, and potentially millions of Android phones and tablets. But just because the Android Market is the Wild West compared to Apple’s App Store walled garden where every app must be approved by hand, doesn’t mean Google doesn’t take malware seriously.

Android Market malware

While anyone can publish an Android app to the Market in a matter of minutes, Google is taking steps to scan apps to detect malicious software automatically.

For the last few months Google has already been using a new scanner which is codenamed “Bouncer.” It looks at new apps as they’re uploaded and also scans existing apps and developer accounts to look for potential problems.

Bouncer looks for known malware, but also identifies behavior that could be an indication that something shady is going on. Google says the number of downloads of potentially dangerous apps dropped 40 percent between the first half of 2011 and the second half (when Bouncer was implemented).

So what do you think? Do you feel any safer? Or would you prefer if someone from Google examined each Android app manually before it was added to the Market the way Apple does? Because that’s not going to happen… it’s not how a company that doesn’t even offer customer support works.

Brad Linder

Brad Linder is editor of Liliputing and Mobiputing. He's been tinkering with mobile tech for decades and writing about it since...