Google this week introduced a new suite of services designed to improve privacy in the Android operating system.
The new features add to the previously introduced Private Compute Core in Android 12 beta, an open source, secure environment designed to be completely isolated from the Android platform itself, as well as from other applications.
For the time being, Private Compute Core includes features such as Live Caption, Now Playing, and Smart Reply, but Google says that additional privacy-preserving features will be added with each new Android release.
To increase privacy, these features keep user data on the device, as the data processed in the Private Compute Core isn’t shared with other apps, and allow for the device to access the cloud without compromising privacy.
No feature within the Private Compute Core has direct access to a network, which is where the newly introduced Private Compute Services come into play. Powered by machine learning, Google says they create a bridge between Private Compute Core and the cloud.
A set of open-source APIs to Private Compute Services are utilized for communication purposes, while ensuring all identifying information is removed in the process through technologies such as Federated Learning, Federated Analytics, and Private information retrieval.
Google plans to make the source code for Private Compute Services available to the public and be audited by security researchers.
“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.