Google launches new private computing services to improve Android security

But how private would it be?

Google announced a Private Compute Core (private computing core) in the Android 12 Beta recently. It has officially announced the launch of a new Private Compute Services (private computing services). It may be helpful in building a privacy bridge between the core and the cloud.

Android’s private computing core is an open-source, secure environment, isolated from other operating systems and apps. For each new Android version, Google will add more privacy protection features to the private computing core.

The privacy protection features added this time include:

  • Live Caption: Use Google’s voice recognition to add subtitles to media;

  • Now Playing (listening to the song to recognize the song): It can identify the music being played nearby and display the song name and artist name on the lock screen of the device;

  • Smart Reply: Suggest a response based on the user’s conversation in the messaging application.

To make these functions private, they must:

  • Keep the information on the device confidential: Android can ensure that sensitive data processed in the private computing core will not be shared with any App at will. For example, before the user clicks on the smart reply, the operating system will hide the user’s reply from the keyboard and the App you are typing;

  • When the user’s device uses the cloud (downloading a new song catalogue or voice recognition model), privacy will not be affected.

We do understand that with private computing services, Android will prevent any function in the private computing core from directly accessing the network. Instead, it will communicate with private computing services through a small set of purposeful open-source APIs. Private computing services strip off identifying information and use a set of privacy technologies, including joint learning, joint analysis, and private information retrieval.

Google promised to publicly release the source code of private computing services so that security researchers and teams other than Google can review it.

Though it sounds very exciting as a much more integrated and efficient Android OS for the future, there are still concerns over privacy and security. Only the future can tell us what exactly the whole experience will be like. In case you liked this article, don’t forget to subscribe to the Inspire2rise newsletter and our push notifications in order to get more timely tech updates and more!

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Google launches new private computing services to improve Android security

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