Google Rolls Out Https Search For Logged In Users - gHacks Tech News

Google Rolls Out Https Search For Logged In Users

Google back in May 2010 enabled https on their core search domain. Users back then were able to access https://www.google.com/ manually for improved security and privacy on the Google Search engine. Google quickly ran into a problem that the company did not anticipate at the time. Companies, organizations and schools began to block the search giant's homepage as employees and students were able to use the encrypted search version to bypass web filters.

Google as a reaction moved encrypted search to its own subdomain under https://encrypted.google.com/ which seemed to have resolved the issue at that time.

Yesterday Google made the announcement that they will roll out encrypted search for logged in users automatically on google.com. What this means is that logged in Google users will be automatically redirected to https://www.google.com/ from http://www.google.com/. Users who are not logged in can access the encrypted page directly or use the standard unencrypted search page instead.

The core benefit of https over http is that the traffic is encrypted. Encryption means that attackers, employees or the user's Internet Service Provider (ISP) cannot spy on the traffic that is exchanged between the user's PC and the Google server. They do not see what a user does on Google.

The very same people do see the properties that users access after leaving the encrypted Google domain, for instance by clicking on a search result. And Google, obviously, sees it all just like before.

https www google com

Google will roll out the feature for all of the company's users in the coming weeks. The move to https could become a serious issue for web statistics applications as webmasters will no longer see the search query that their users came from in web statistic apps.

These information are often used to optimize the site for a particular keyword or group of users.

Google notes that webmasters will still be able to see the top 1000 search queries in Google Webmaster Tools. And with the integration of some Webmaster Tools data in Google Analytics, one could wonder if Google is intentionally favoring their own web traffic analysis solution with the move.

Other search engines, Ixquick comes to mind, have been offering encrypted search for some time as well.

What's your take on encrypted search? (Google Blog, via)

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Comments

  1. Jim said on October 19, 2011 at 11:15 pm
    Reply

    Wouldn’t search any other way now. I’ve been using DuckDuckGo for a few months and I like having my searches encrypted. It’s not anyone’s business what I search for as long as I’m not breaking any laws.

  2. Berttie said on October 19, 2011 at 11:37 pm
    Reply

    I’ve been using encrypted Google since it became available. I also have the ‘Redirect to HTTPS’ (Opera) and ‘HTTPS Finder’ (Firefox) extension on my browsers so I connect to websites securely whenever possible. It is a good security measure. I just wish more sites made it available so we could reclaim our privacy.

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on October 20, 2011 at 6:47 am
      Reply

      I personally think that https is nice and begins to shine when you are on a public or shared network.

  3. chinauser said on October 20, 2011 at 3:56 am
    Reply

    i cant force https for m.google.com and my nearest local m.google.com.hk

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on October 20, 2011 at 6:43 am
      Reply

      I think they are only rolling it out for the main site https://www.google.com/

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