Google launches privacy-driven ‘safe folder’ in Files app

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Tech titan Google launched a new Safe Folder feature in its Files app, which now has over 150 million users worldwide since launching in December 2017.

The new Safe Folder feature will be initially available to more than two million users with the rollout gradually expanding to all of Files’ users over the next few weeks.

Safe Folder is a secure 4-digit PIN-encrypted folder that allows people to store important documents, images, videos and audio files, keeping their personal files safe from being opened or accessed by others.

The folder won’t allow users to take screenshots or screen recordings of its contents. It’s also locked as soon as users switch away from the app, so none of its contents can be accessed when the app is in the background, and will ask for their PIN again on reentry.

Files was initially created for people with low phone storage, many of whom live in countries like India, Nigeria, and Brazil. The Safe Folder feature has been built as people in these countries also frequently share their device with friends and family members.

“The practice of device sharing is universal in places where access to smartphones is more limited, often strengthened by cultural norms around sharing of resources,” said Joris van Mens, product manager at Google. “While privacy looks different for each person, this feature is one way we’re providing greater controls for people to manage their personal content, even when sharing devices.”

Files is available on the Google Play Store in 80 languages for all phones running Android 5.0 (Lollipop) and higher, while the Safe Folder feature will be available for Android 8.0 (Oreo) and above.

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