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19 October 2011, 15:15

More Google searches to be encrypted

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Google launched encrypted search as an optional service on nearly a year and a half ago. Now, Google announced that the use of SSL encryption when conducting searches will become the default for signed-in users.

Google will also not send on referrer information to sites selected from the search results if the user is doing an SSL encrypted search. The sites will still see that the user was referred to them from Google, but will not see information such as the search string used. For SEOs, this change will present a problem and they may have to use Google's Webmaster Tools which can give a more complete listing of the top 1,000 search terms for a site.

Search results for signed in users on Google are personalised to the user which means that search terms and search results could disclose more information about the user than expected. Google says that the use of encryption protects both the search queries and the results pages. The use of SSL makes such personalised data more secure when using an unsecured internet connection, such as in a public internet café.

The use of SSL as default is expected to be completed within a few weeks, but is already in effect for many Google users. Over the past year Hotmail, Twitter and Facebook have begun to offer default on SSL connections to their services; ironically, over the same year, questions have emerged about the network of trust which SSL relies on with certificate authorities being compromised and country-wide man-in-the-middle attacks being staged in Iran.

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