People want more privacy and protection as they communicate and spend time online. With several recent events causing concern across Facebook, Google, and other popular online destinations, we can probably understand why.
In a continued effort to increase privacy and security across its portfolio of services, Google added the ability to utilize SSL encryption when using the core Google.com search engine.
The SSL encryption is not enabled by default and in order to utilize the secure search, you need to set your browser to https://www.google.com – the “s” being the only difference from the standard (unencrypted) search – but the key to making it secure.
When you search using SSL, both your search queries and search results will be encrypted as they travel between Google’s servers and your Web browser, making it more difficult for third-parties to monitor using a packet analyzer.
It’s important to realize that just because the connection is encrypted via SSL that doesn’t mean it’s totally private and Google still has access to, and stores, search queries. As Google notes in a blog post, “Searching over SSL doesn’t reduce the data sent to Google — it only hides that data from third parties who seek it.”
Google has an interesting stance on privacy surrounding users’ online activities. As Google’s CEO, Eric Schmidt said during an interview with CNBC’s Maria Bartiromo, “If you have something that you don’t want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn’t be doing it in the first place.”
This SSL search is online available for basic web searches not yet enabled for image searches or Google Maps searches.
SSL encryption has been available for Gmail for a long time and is now enabled by default after the recent hacks and attacks on Google’s infrastructure.