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24 May 2010, 10:17

Google secures search with SSL encryption

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Google SSL Search Logo Google has announced that it has an alternate homepage that supports SSL encryption to secure the information transmitted from a users browser to the company's servers. Users can access the secured search page by simply visiting (URL uses the "https" scheme name). The standard search page (http), however, will continue to transmit data as clear text.

According to a post on the Official Google Blog by Software Engineer Evan Roseman, the service is currently labelled "beta" for a few reasons, the main reason being that it only covers the company's core web search product. Additionally, links to several of Google's other offerings, such as Image Search and Maps, will not be shown as they don't currently support SSL. Roseman says that, as "SSL connections require additional time to set up the encryption between your browser and the remote web server", searching over SSL may be "slightly slower than your regular Google search experience". It is also important to note that, clicking search results or links to other Google services will take users out of SSL mode.

Unlike its Google Mail email service, which enabled SSL connections by default in January, the Google SSL search beta is an alternate page rather than a default. The company is also quick to point out that this doesn't mean that it won't be collecting search data, saying that "Searching over SSL doesn’t reduce the data sent to Google – it only hides that data from third parties who seek it."

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