Today, Google offered a new feature to enhance its already-robust search capabilities: Secure Search. Google is the first major search engine to offer search in a secure setting.
Pictured below, the secure search works and looks just like traditional search, but operates on SSL (secure socket layer), and can be found here: https://www.google.com. The “https” references a secure internet browsing location, unlike traditional “http” locations:
What Does it Do?
Google’s secure search protects the transmission of data between a user’s computer and Google’s server. So, a user searching for “ways to pass a drug screening” would enjoy enhanced security for that search: the user’s search query could not be intercepted in transit by persons snooping on internet traffic–which in an unsecured environment, is largely open to viewing by anyone. It’s the same technology that protects the transmission of credit card numbers.
However, it has limitations: the user’s browser settings may retain the search query, making it visible to coworkers, spouses, or anyone with access to the physical computer on which the search was made.
No Change in Search Results
But will this new feature change search results, the order in which search results appear? No. TastyPlacement tested a variety of phrases in both environments, and the search results are unchanged.
Who Won’t Like It?
That’s easy: the Chinese Government and the North Korean Government. These governments snoop on their citizens by intercepting all sorts of internet traffic–including search queries. The secure connection means that a dissident in China can search for information without having his or her search queries read by China’s ubiquitous internet police. Of course, once a person clicks on a link–the visit to the destination website will be visible to snoopers. And, of course, the Chinese government can simply attempt to block access to all of Google’s servers.