Google has added virus scanning to Gmail, complementing the existing virus protection based on blocking certain types of file attachments.

Now, Gmail will automatically scan all attachments users send and receive. It will attempt to clean or remove viruses from infected attachments so that users can access the attachment's information; otherwise, users will not be able to download the attachment. Gmail will also prevent users from sending messages with infected attachments.

Until now, Google has protected Gmail users by blocking messages that carry attachments commonly associated with virus attacks.

A little over a year ago, a Google official told IDG News Service that the company was working on giving Gmail virus scanning capabilities, possibly by licensing technology from a third party.