Google's new Safe Browsing API lets anybody programmatically access the company's lists of suspected phishing and malware URLs.

Google keeps the URL lists constantly updated. The API can be used for server-side processing of URLs that are posted to Web sites, and client applications can download an encrypted URL table for client-side lookups of URLs that need to be checked.

"The API is still experimental, but we hope it will be useful to ISPs, web-hosting companies, and anyone building a site or an application that publishes or transmits user-generated links," wrote Brian Rakowski and Garrett Casto, in the company's Online Security Blog. Both men are part of Google's Anti-Phishing and Anti-Malware Teams.

As with some other Google services (such as Google Maps), use of the API requires that users sign up for an API key that must be used as part of the URL lookup process. More information is available at Google's Safe Browsing Web site.