Google has released an initial beta of Chrome for Android devices, and the new mobile browser includes a full set of security and privacy functions. The new mobile version of Chrome has the sandbox functionality that has been so important in the desktop browser, as well as a strict permission model for mobile apps.
Chrome is gaining a strong reputation in the security community as the most secure of the major desktop browsers, and it has passed Firefox in market share. Google has been working on the mobile version of Chrome for some time now, and the release of the initial beta will ramp up expectations among users looking for an alternative to the other mobile browsers. The major security feature of Chrome for Android is the inclusion of the sandbox that separates the behavior of each app from other apps.
“Because Android sandboxes applications from each other, applications must explicitly share resources and data. They do this by declaring the permissions they need for additional capabilities not provided by the basic sandbox. Applications statically declare the permissions they require, and the Android system prompts the user for consent at the time the application is installed. Android has no mechanism for granting permissions dynamically (at run-time) because it complicates the user experience to the detriment of security,” Google said in the release notes for Chrome for Android.
“Chrome for Android complements this security framework with a solid multi-process architecture that is designed from the ground up to improve robustness, responsiveness and security. As more and more content on the Internet moves to be active web content, it is necessary to deliver a browser that inherently keeps these separate from each other, in most situations. The multi-process architecture in Chrome for Android sets the foundation for this and establishes clear boundaries between web page content.”
One of the key features of the desktop version of Chrome that’s not included in the first beta of Chrome for Android is support for the Safe Browsing API. In desktop Chrome, the Safe Browsing functionality is used to check the authenticity of sites as well as to see whether sites are known attack or malware-distribution sites.
Incognito mode, which enables users to browse without leaving traces of their activities on the browser’s history, is included in Chrome for Android, as well.