Why Google bought VirusTotal

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Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) bought VirusTotal last week. But why? What could the search/ads/mobile/cloud company want with this Spanish malware-scan aggregator?

In IT Blogwatch, bloggers search for the truth.

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By Richi Jennings: Your humble blogwatcher curated these bloggy bits for your entertainment. Not to mention: Korean farting dolls...

Jared Newman reports:

VirusTotal's service is pretty simple...select a file to scan or paste in a URL. [There's] a Windows [app] and browser extensions. ... VirusTotal says it will operate independently...and will keep its partnerships.

...

Google isn't saying what it [plans] but...the service itself may not be what Google's after. ...the value in VirusTotal may be in its partnerships with antivirus companies and the dataset it creates...so it'd make sense for Google to keep the service alive and let its dataset grow.  MORE

 
Iain Thomson adds:

VirusTotal was set up in 2007 and uses over 40 different antivirus engines to scan...for free. ... VirusTotal shares its results with other security vendors to allow them to beef up their defenses. ... This ensures that new malware is tramped down quickly. ... Even Microsoft shares its data.
...
Google didn't say how much it is spending.  MORE

 
The pseudonymous 'VirusTotal Team' blog happily:

Our goal is simple: to help keep you safe on the web. ... But as a small, resource-constrained company, that can sometimes be challenging.
...
The quality and power of our malware research tools will keep improving. ... Google’s infrastructure will ensure that our tools are always ready.  MORE

 
Meanwhile, Amir Efrati hypothesizes tangentially:

Google has used its search engine to help Internet users detect malware, and...the Android mobile operating system, have had to combat malware in...mobile apps [in] the Google Play store. Google’s Chrome Web browser also...detect[s] websites that could infect visitors with malware.
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Computers cannot be infected by malware from executing searches. ... Rather, computer users download malware unintentionally.  MORE

 
And Lee Mathews is more direct:

Google Antivirus? That seems unlikely. ... Google may, however, want to tie VirusTotal into...SafeBrowsing [which] currently processes around 1 million submissions per week.
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Google has plenty of reasons to want better URL and download analysis...[like] beefing up Chrome’s defenses...making things difficult for Android malware [and to] help keep its search results...malware-free.  MORE

  
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