The next iteration of Google's Android operating system, Android L, will encrypt data by default for the first time ever, meaning a stronger barrier between hackers and police and your data.

Data encryption has been optional on Android since 2011, but it has not been the default option.

The new security strategy comes hot on the heels of Apple announcing that users' data on iOS 8 is protected by passwords that even Apple cannot access.

"For over three years Android has offered encryption, and keys are not stored off of the device, so they cannot be shared with law enforcement," said Google in a statement. "As part of our next Android release, encryption will be enabled by default out of the box, so you won't even have to think about turning it on."

Like Apple, Google has said that it does not even know the passwords in play for protecting data and will not be able to access it without a four-digit code, making it likely that users will have to set up such a code when they first get Android L. These codes are not stored online or anywhere off the device itself.

Silicon Valley companies have been expressing increased concern over law enforcement officials being able to access users' data, and this step is largely seen as a move against government snooping in the aftermath of the Edward Snowden leaks from the National Security Agency.

Google has reportedly been developing the encryption software for months and recognizes that users typically don't turn encryption on by themselves.

"Most people aren't going to go out of their way to do these things," said Joseph Lorenzo Hall, chief technologist for the Center for Democracy and Technology. "It's so awesome, as someone who has worked on these issues for a long time, to see these two companies switch their defaults to where these things will be strongly encrypted, and rightly so."

While it does seem like both Apple and Google are doing essentially the same thing, there are a number of important differences between how iOS and Android handle encryption.

Apple will be rolling out encryption features to all capable devices that update to iOS 8 in the next few weeks. Google, however, does not have the ability to provide mass updates in the same way because of the fact that many companies change Android and give it a personal twist. This means that it could be months before some devices get the new software.

New devices that run Android L will ship after October. However, it will likely take years before most Android devices have default encryption features.

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