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Old 23rd May 2010
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Arrow Encrypted Google Search Coming to a Browser near You

Google has begun rolling out an encrypted version of its search engine in an effort to protect Internet users from having their searches sniffed by others on their network.

The new version of Google is SSL encrypted and located at Like many of Google's other changes, it's being rolled out slowly to all users who choose to search securely.

SSL search means that an encrypted connection is created between your browser and Google's servers. When you perform a search, your search terms and whatever results come back from them will only be visible to you—anyone who might be sniffing packets on your network (such as, say, Google!) won't be able to see that you're looking up cures for hemorrhoids, the lyrics to every song in the musical Cats, or something worse.

Google's encrypted search launch comes in the wake of the company's own WiFi data sniffing debacle, for which it may face probes in both Germany and the US (as well as a class-action lawsuit). This privacy slip-up is a stark reminder that much of our regular WiFi traffic can be snooped on by others on the network—doubly so if the network is open or shared, like the one I'm using at the coffee shop as I write this.

It's likely that Google was already working on an SSL search before the Street View drama started, though, as the company had already rolled out encrypted versions of Gmail and Google Docs. Search seems like the next logical step, though Google says it's only in "beta" for now (surprise!). The reasoning for the beta tag is because SSL only covers the core search technology for the time being—if you decide to use it, you won't get results for Google Maps or Google Images until SSL is supported for those services as well.

Source: Ars Technica
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