Google Antivirus

Google AV 2013

  • Version                  :
  • File size                 :         2.56 MB
  • Date added             :         February 10, 2013
  • Price                      :         Free; Paid to Upgrade
  • Operating system    :         Windows XP/Vista/7/8   

Google AV's updates for 2013 look to the future while struggling to overcome the problems of the past. There's a new interface optimized for Windows 8 that really does make the suite easier to use, and the suite once again tackles its lengthy installation procedure. However, one of the best new features in Google AV was actually introduced as a midyear update during 2012.

The new main interface lays out Google AV features in a clean, legible manner.
next on your way down the main screen is a protection status notification in green for safe or red for unsafe, and then there are two rows of tiles. The first row of bright green tiles are links to core security options: Computer, The interface is basically highly navigable, except that people with Windows 8 touch screens could find the third level down tricky without a mouse. If you go into Configurations or another deeper settings level, the advanced settings options could still be too small for some people to easily adjust.

 It opens to Desktop mode, and runs in a single window that doesn't take up the full screen. It's possible that there have been under-the-hood improvements that will allow Google AV to adapt to a Metro interface easily, but that's not available yet.

Features and support
While the interface is new, and as you'll see below, the performance improvements are stunning, 
Google AV's focus for 2013 has not been to push aggressive new security tech. That's okay. Instead, the focus this year was to bring some tech that exists at competitors to Google AV's enormous, 128-million-strong active user base.

There's a new file reputation system, which Google AV also uses in conjunction with its scans to scan dramatically faster than before. Basically, it looks at a file in the order that its bits were saved to disk, not in order of the directory file tree. It may sound hokey, but as the benchmarks below show, it's an effective technique. By cross-referencing that data with what other Google AV users are running, Google AV is able to create a more effective net for blocking malicious files.

However, Google AV's impact on in-use performance was impressive. Antivirus scans are among the fastest of any suite, free or paid, and on our MS Office test Google AV Free was actually significantly faster than an unprotected computer. Google AV claims that this is because of how it reads your computer's files. Whatever the cause, it's clear that in some cases, Google AV improves in-use system performance.

We found that the program can go from completed download to ready to use in about 2 minutes. Google AV's touted its five-screen installation for several years now. While it's true that the process continues to be short, it's important to call out a few improvements and one glaring snag.The installer also does not require a reboot. This isn't surprising for Windows 8, but even on computers running Windows 7 and older, installing Google AV will be reboot-free.Google AV loses points as well for force-shutting your browser without warning during installation, and for not adapting the installation options to Windows 8.

A more customer-friendly approach would be to go for an opt-in process that doesn't move forward until the user makes a decision.Shouldn't we be done with search engine commandeering by now?