Google Introduces Android WebView Media Integrity API to Enhance Embedded Multimedia Content Security

November 06, 2023 – Google made an announcement back in May of this year about the Web Environment Integrity API, allowing websites to verify if visitors’ software and hardware “conform to specific standards.” It was touted as a means to enhance security and privacy for embedded media content on websites.

However, many raised concerns that the Web Environment Integrity API was functionally similar to Digital Rights Management (DRM) and would potentially impact the user experience on websites. Consequently, this API proposal faced widespread criticism from the community.

Recently, Google has decided to abandon the Web Environment Integrity API and introduced the Android WebView Media Integrity API.

For context, Android developers can utilize the WebView API to display web-based media content within their apps. The Android WebView Media Integrity API is an extension of the WebView API, although it shares some functionality with the Web Environment Integrity API. However, it applies exclusively to embedded WebView APIs within apps.

The Android WebView Media Integrity API requires support from Google Play services (GMS). Developers can leverage this API to access information about the app and the device on which it runs, ensuring that “streaming media content can operate in a secure and trusted environment.” Importantly, this device information does not include specific user details or unique device identifiers, and it does not grant access to the Google Play authorization status of the app. It is designed to provide a privacy mechanism.

Google has stated that the development of this API aims to maintain a diverse media content ecosystem within Android applications. This API is expected to undergo early testing beginning next year.

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