Google extends secure search

Google makes it easier than ever to keep snoopers out of your Google searches.
Written by Steven Vaughan-Nichols, Senior Contributing Editor

Google is making secure search the default for logged in users around the world.

Google is making secure search the default for logged in users around the world.

Over a year ago, a little Firefox add-on program called Firesheep showed just how easy it was to snoop on people on the same Wi-Fi network. Since then, more and more Web sites, like Facebook and Twitter, are securing their Web sites by default. Now, Google is continuing its own push into making its search sites more secure.

Google began late last year by using SSL (Secure Socket Layer) security for signed-in users using Google Search. That means, as some of you have noticed, if you're signed into Google instead of going to http://www.google.com, you're ending up at the secured https://www.google.com site. Your search results come back to you, in turn, via a secured HTTPS page.

If, however, you don't have a Google account-say because you're concerned about Google's new privacy policies--you won't get the secured results by default. Even without a Google account though you can still get secured search out of Google though by going to https://encrypted.google.com/.

Google is now extending its secured search for logged in users beyond the U.S. based Google search engine to its various international search engines such as Google Canada, Google UK (http://www.google.co.uk), and Google Germany. Indeed, when I checked this, I found that the secure search service was already running in Canada and the United Kingdom.

As more and more sites adopt SSL for their every day connections, Web browsing will become more secure. If you want the maximum possible protection, whenever possible, today, I recommend you install Electronic Frontier Foundation's HTTPS Everywhere browser security extension. This Firefox and Chrome program automatically encrypts connections to more than 1,400 Web sites.

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