If You Have Ever Searched, You Used Google!
Recently, Google made a quiet change and started encrypting all search activity by its users on Google search engine, except for clicks on advertisements. According to Google, the search engine giant took this step to provide some extra protection to searchers.
Secure Searching from Logged-In Users to Everyone
A couple of years ago, Google started encrypting searches for users who were logged into Google. At the time, Google said that privacy was its major concern. It stated that the attempt to encrypt searches was to protect user data.
In fact, Google also said that it wanted to block any malicious activity and users who were trying to eavesdrop on a string of searches made by a logged-in user. It also wanted to prevent the search terms from being seen by publishers, as some of these might have been too personal to reveal.
Recently, Google started encrypting searches for even those people who aren’t signed-in. Google even confirmed this shift and made an official statement. It even added SSL encryption to searches from Chrome Omnibox in 2013. Now, the company claims to be working on providing more protection to all those users who aren’t even signed-in.
Reasons for this Change
Most Google users are perplexed about the timing of this change from Google search engine. People wonder why Google suddenly decided to provide more protection to everyone. According to industry experts, there must be some valid reason for this shift.
When searches are encrypted, all those search terms that are usually passed along to publishers after a user clicks on their links at Google are withheld. If we talk about Google Analytics, the actual search term is replaced with notation. Thus, this change may even offend some publishers, who always want more data about customer preferences.
Block the NSA – The first reason points at something quite important. Recently, the US National Security Agency was in the News because of spying on internet users. Earlier this year, even Google was accused of cooperating with the US National Security Agency and giving it direct and instant access to all the search data through PRISM spying program.
This even had a major impact on Cloud computing, as people became aware of malpractices. However, Google has strongly denied these accusations. But that has been unable to save it from criticism.
Since the accusations, Google has been carrying on with its campaign to allow more transparency about the number of spying requests it regularly receives. However, it only aims to focus on a limited basis and does not want to involve anyone directly.
Boost Ad Sales – The second reason is quite simple and direct. As mentioned earlier, when search terms are not visible to publishers, it may affect businesses. It may even have a major impact on Cloud computing service providers. Customer have also used Google My Business Ads to promote their businesses.
Thus, the easiest way for publishers to see these actual search terms will be through the Google AdWords system. According to industry experts, encryption is clearly an attempt to make publishers use Google AdWords more extensively and boost sales.
These are the two most important reasons why Google has been making searches more secure on Google search engine with encryption. In the coming years, Google will continue to take some steps to make searches more secure.