Google search gets default SSL security

Google search gets default SSL security

Summary: Google is making SSL encryption the standard for signed-in users, bringing greater privacy and anonymity. But it won't protect you from advertisers' prying eyes.

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TOPICS: Apps, Cloud, Google
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Google is making secure sockets layer (SSL) encrypted search the default for signed-in users as part of an effort to help preserve security and privacy, especially when using unsecured wireless networks or Internet cafes.

If you don't have a Google account, or if you're merely not signed in, Google.com will work as usual, according to the official blog entry. But if you're signed in, you'll be redirected by default to https://www.google.com (note the extra 's'), and all of your searches will be protected from prying eyes. Google says that this is even more important given its increased focus on delivering personalized search results.

This isn't the first time Google's offered SSL-encrypted search: a secure search domain has been available for over a year, but it's never before been made default for any user.

What webmasters need to know about clicks from security-enabled users: Google will still register as the referrer, but it'll no longer provide data about the specific query that brought the user to your site. However, every 30 days, webmasters can receive a report of the top 1,000 traffic-driving search strings.

A potential sticking point for users is that this newfound anonymity doesn't appear to extend to advertising. As the Google blog says:

If you choose to click on an ad appearing on our search results page, your browser will continue to send the relevant query over the network to enable advertisers to measure the effectiveness of their campaigns and to improve the ads and offers they present to you.

Google may be committed to promoting the SSL security standard across its product line and the web at large, but it's still very much in the advertising business. And caveats like that act as a harsh reminder that Google will choose its advertisers over your privacy every time.

Topics: Apps, Cloud, Google

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5 comments
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  • a wash for user, good for G.

    Ok, so SSL can help keep your traffic and controls private, but to use it you have to sign in and explicitly provide your identity. tricky slicky. It's a wash for the user, looks like a step to cut out third party 'spies' so that the Google 'spies' are sure to collect all the info without competition for its control.

    I'm still not sure why I would want "Google ..(to have).. increased focus on delivering personalized search results.". Yeah I know this has been going on for years but when I search for something, wouldn't a straightforward result, based on exactly what was typed, be better than one where algorithms try to guess what I really meant instead? (sometimes it is like ordering an ice cream cone and being handed a CFL) Google is not unfair, as the annoyances are just a price to be 'paid' for using the service. but their engine could be better and is why I use blekko and just sidestep these issues.
    opcom
  • Let's try praising a good idea..

    To your "potential sticking point.." I say "Who cares?" If the user clicks on an ad they understand they are leaving Google and going to a vendor site. That should absolutely not be Googles concern. Providing privacy in our searches is what Google is doing here and I think that's what is being achieved. And regarding a previous comment - most of us are always signed in anyway. I would rather have Google knowing what I'm searching for than the myriad of third party "spies".
    walnut186
  • RE: Google search gets default SSL security

    And you can intall AdAware and block all ads
    mick@...
  • RE: Google search gets default SSL security

    Not exactly true if you use, say, Google.co.nz.
    codyc1515
  • RE: Google search gets default SSL security

    i don't get ssl by default when i go to google.com.
    i live in saudi arabia.
    docesam