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Google purchases online malware scanner VirusTotal

Google has acquired free online malware scanner VirusTotal for an undisclosed sum.

VirusTotal announced the acquisition in a blog post on Friday, noting that the two companies have been partners for a while now. VirusTotal offers a free online tool that scans suspicious files and URLs to detect viruses, worms, trojans, and other malware. The service uses 44 different antivirus products to check for malware that their security software may have missed.

VirusTotal said it will continue to operate independently, keeping its existing partnerships with other antivirus firms and security experts intact.

The company said that under Google's wing it will be able to improve the quality and power of its malware research tools at a faster rate. It will also leverage Google's vast infrastructure to ensure its tools are always available.

"Our goal is simple: to help keep you safe on the web," VirusTotal wrote. "And we've worked hard to ensure that the services we offer continually improve. But as a small, resource-constrained company, that can sometimes be challenging."

The company added that "Google has a long track record working to keep people safe online and we look forward to fighting the good fight together with them."

A Google spokesman declined to provide specifics of the deal, but told in a statement on Friday that security is "incredibly important" to its users and Google has invested "many millions of dollars" to keep its users safe on the web.

"VirusTotal also has a strong track record in web security, and we're delighted to be able to provide them with the infrastructure they need to ensure that their service continues to improve," Google said.

This is not Google's first security-related buy. The Web giant back in 2007 acquired anti-virus maker GreenBorder Technologies. The same year it also picked up Postini, a communications security and compliance firm.

Android malware was big news last year. Unlike Apple, Google does not have a strict approval process in place for Google Play, and while that might make for a more open environment, it also makes the store vulnerable to some dangerous apps. In February, Google unveiled Bouncer, which automatically scans new and existing apps, as well as developer accounts, searching for malware, spyware and trojans. It also looks for indications that an app might be misbehaving, and compares it to other applications to detect red flags.