Google has quietly made its first anti-malware acquisition, snapping up GreenBorder Technologies, a venture-backed company that sells browser virtualization security software.
The acquisition gives the search engine a key piece of technology to block Web-based exploits that prey on flaws in the two most widely used browsers -- Microsoft's Internet Explorer and Mozilla's Firefox.
(Also see: Google's anti-malware team comes out the shadows)
GreenBorder's software creates an "impenetrable protective barrier" that keeps all interactions with a Web site and its associated content and programs away from the internal parts of a Windows machine.
It essentially creates a DMZ (demilitarized zone) between the Windows desktop and programs downloaded from Web pages or opened from e-mail messages in Microsoft Outlook.
The company sold two versions of the sandbox software -- consumers and enterprise -- before the Google acquisition. New sales/downloads have been discontinued but existing customers will continue to get support.
It's clear that Google is pushing aggressively into the anti-malware market to clean up its own search results and provide protection to end users and this deal signals the company's intent to use the browser as the entry point to get on desktops.
It's likely that Google will rebrand and release GreenBorder's software as a free download or as an addition to the Google Toolbar.
Last week, when I blogged about Google's anti-malware team launching a blog and dropping hints about future plans, I suggested that a big acquisition might be on the cards. This wasn't it.
It certainly looks like Google has set its sights on the desktop anti-virus space and, as others are speculating, Symantec and McAfee could soon be nervously looking over their shoulders.