Google is rolling out over the next week default encryption using SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) on searches for users signing in with their accounts, the company said Tuesday.
The move comes over a year after Google made SSL the default setting for Gmail, and also introduced an encrypted search service. (See also How to Make Your Google Accounts More Secure.”)
“As search becomes an increasingly customized experience, we recognize the growing importance of protecting the personalized search results we deliver,” Google’s product manager, Evelyn Kao said in a blog post on Tuesday.
The encryption is expected to be particularly useful for people using an unsecured Internet connection, such as a Wi-Fi hotspot in an Internet café, Kao added.
With Google search over SSL, users get an end-to-end encrypted search channel between their computer and Google. The secured channel helps protect search terms and search results pages from being intercepted by a third party, Google said in a description of SSL search.
Over the next few weeks, users will be redirected to a secure search site when they are signed in with their Google Account. The change encrypts search queries and Google’s results page.
Users can also navigate directly to the secure search site if they are signed out or don’t have a Google Account.
Websites visited from organic search listings will still know that the user came from Google, but will not get information about each individual query, Google said. The websites can also receive an aggregated list of the top 1000 search queries that drove traffic to their site for each of the past 30 days through Google Webmaster Tools, Google said.
But if the user clicks on an advertisement appearing on the search results page, the browser will continue to send the relevant query over the network to enable advertisers to measure the effectiveness of their campaigns and to improve the ads and offers they present, Kao said.
Search over SSL is currently available on web, images and all the search modes on Google Search, except for maps. The Google experience using SSL search might be very slightly slower than people are used to because the computer needs to first establish a secure connection with Google, the company said.
John Ribeiro covers outsourcing and general technology breaking news from India for The IDG News Service. Follow John on Twitter at @Johnribeiro. John’s e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org