Google said it is making HTTPS security via SSL encryption the default option among searchers who are signed in, which should delight privacy buffs afraid of referrals floating around.
Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) Oct. 18 said it will begin
redirecting most of users signed into their Google accounts to the HTTPS
version of Google.com, which encrypts searches that users perform, as well as
The encryption comes courtesy of SSL (Secure Socket
Layer), a security standard used by most banking and e-commerce Websites. Google
began using SSL as the default setting for Gmail in January 2010 after it
learned that Gmail had been hacked in China
The company then began offering encrypted search at https://encrypted.google.com
for those who wanted to try it in May 2010
With search becoming more personalized--that is,
tailored to specific users' preferences based on their previous
searches--Google said it has become more important to shore up search
results directed to
This is especially true at a time when more users are accessing Google
search from unsecured WiFi connections, such as mobile hotspots at Starbucks
and other cafes with Internet access.
What this means is that when users use https://www.google.com
to search, Websites such
as Amazon.com, eBay and others will know that users came from Google and will
receive an aggregated list of the top 1,000 search queries that propelled traffic
to their Website over the past month.
These Websites won't receive any info
about specific queries individuals make, such as what they searched for, when
and from what computer.
However, users who elect to click on an ad appearing on a
Google search results page will still send the relevant query over the network
to enable advertisers to gauge the effectiveness of their campaigns and to
improve the ads they present to users.
Search Engine Land
offers plenty more on how this change works.
"We hope that today's move to increase the privacy
and security of your Web searches is only the next step in a broader industry
effort to employ SSL encryption more widely and effectively," wrote Google search Product Manager Evelyn Kao
Many Internet companies that didn't already rely on HTTPS
have begun adding the security layer to their Websites. Facebook added HTTPS support
in January 2011 and Twitter added HTTPS support in March