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Google and 'secret searching'

Last week, Google unveiled an updated and bona fide encrypted web search option. By using SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) encryption, the search engine offers all users the ability to shield search queries from third-party interception. (see Google’s official blog story, here.)

The bottom line? You can search from any public WiFi connection without fear that your neighbor might spy or sniff your search terms and results. As Google puts it, when you search https://google.com, “an encrypted connection is created between your browser and Google. This secured channel helps protect your search terms and your search results pages from being intercepted by a third party on your network.”

Google SSL LogoGoogle even has developed a special “locked logo” (see right) to convey that you are searching with an SSL (secured) connection.

This is a fascinating development. Sure, Google will still receive an end-user’s search data. But now, there is no chance for third-party sniffing. Additionally, there is some grumbling amongst SEO (Search Engine Optimization) experts that encrypted search will hinder pay-per-click services, like AdWords, and their respective networks. Other search experts are worried that SSL searches will be invisible, essentially off the grid, which means there will be an entire catalogue of searches that are unknowable and unmeasurable.

Regardless, Google has delivered a new way to search — one which is undoubtedly customer-service oriented and one which improves overall privacy. Consider it another option in Google’s ever-growing arsenal.


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