Google has moved the encrypted version of its search engine to a new Web address.
Though the old URL (https://www.google.com) still works, Google announced recently that it launched encrypted.google.com in a nod to school administrators who have blocked encrypted search for their students.
“We recently launched a beta version of encrypted (SSL) search at https://www.google.com to prevent people from intercepting our users’ search terms and results,” blogged Dave Girouard, president of Google Enterprise. “However, because encrypted search creates an obscured channel between a user’s computer and Google, users who go to https://www.google.com can bypass some schools’ content filters. This can make it hard for schools to stop students from accessing adult content.”
A side effect of blocking encrypted search is that it also blocks other services hosted on the secure URL, such as Google Apps for Education, Girouard noted. As an alternative, he advised schools to use Google’s SafeSearch lock feature to keep adult content out of search results, though he acknowledged that may be impractical due to the sheer number of computers at some institutions.
“We’re working hard to address this issue as quickly as possible and in a few weeks we will move encrypted search to a new hostname – so schools can limit access to SSL search without disrupting other Google services, like Google Apps for Education,” he blogged. “Longer term, we are exploring other options like moving authentication to its own hostname so that we can return encrypted search to https://www.google.com.”