Google implements new Private Compute Services for Android

Pierluigi Paganini September 12, 2021

Google introduces Private Compute Services, a collection of services aimed at designing to improve privacy in the Android operating system.

Good news for Android users, Google has implemented the Private Compute Services, a set of features aimed at improving their privacy.

“We introduced Android’s Private Compute Core in Android 12 Beta. Today, we’re excited to announce a new suite of services that provide a privacy-preserving bridge between Private Compute Core and the cloud.” reads the announcement published by Google. “Android’s Private Compute Core is an open source, secure environment that is isolated from the rest of the operating system and apps. With each new Android release we’ll add more privacy-preserving features to the Private Compute Core.”

The new features have been added to the Private Compute Core in Android 12 beta, an open-source, secure environment private by design, which allows keeping user personal information safe, private and local to the phone.

According to Google, the new features in Android 12 give the users more transparency around which apps are accessing their data, and more controls so they can make informed choices about how much private information your apps can access.

The IT giant announced that will introduce more privacy-preserving features to the Private Compute Core with each new Android release.

In this turn the company implemented the following features:

  • Live Caption, which adds captions to any media using Google’s on-device speech recognition
  • Now Playing, which recognizes music playing nearby and displays the song title and artist name on your device’s lock screen
  • Smart Reply, which suggests relevant responses based on the conversation you’re having in messaging apps

Google added that features inside the Private Compute Core don’t have direct access to the network.

“Instead, features communicate over a small set of purposeful open-source APIs to Private Compute Services, which strips out identifying information and uses a set of privacy technologies, including Federated LearningFederated Analytics, and Private information retrieval.” states Google.

Google plans to open the source code for Private Compute Services to allow independent reviews by security researchers.

“We will publicly publish the source code for Private Compute Services, so it can be audited by security researchers and other teams outside of Google. This means it can go through the same rigorous security programs that ensure the safety of the Android platform.” concludes Google. “We’re enthusiastic about the potential for machine learning to power more helpful features inside Android, and Android’s Private Compute Core will help users benefit from these features while strengthening privacy protections via the new Private Compute Services,” Google says.

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Pierluigi Paganini

(SecurityAffairs – hacking, Privacy)

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