Monday, May 24, 2010

Google offers secured search, still monitors search data though

An interesting tip that I received via Paul Thurrott’s WinSuperSite over this weekend was that Google has recently offered a new SSL secured beta version of their ever-so popular search engine. As search becomes more and more popular over time, and privacy becomes a growing concern, Google seems to be trying to take an edge on these two ideas. The new site can easily be reached by navigating to using your favorite browser.


Interestingly, though, is that although Google secures your search results and what users input into the search box while traveling from a user’s PC to Google’s servers, Google still collects personal information (though none of it, apparently, is capable of identifying the end-user) to enhance the search experience. So for those looking for a way to continue using Google Search without Google interfering with what they’re searching about, this is still not the way. Essentially, this is a good way to keep prying eyes from seeing what users are searching for on their computer while using a public access point. This feature is similar to how many banks and other security wary sites have implemented SSL over the years.


Aside from this, there is currently no support, or any future information as to whether Bing, or other search engines, such as Yahoo!, will offer this support in the future. By going to, users will receive an error message that the site does not exist. Using for Yahoo! Search redirects to the normal website (which may or may not elude that Yahoo! has similar plans for establishing SSL.)


Whether or not this will catch on with other search engines is currently unclear. However, I would hazard a guess that users will experience this same functionality from Bing in the future… this is, however, just a guess. I would also hazard a guess that SSL search will probably not take off as the preferred method of searching for quite some time, no matter how many search engines implement this.


Some other things to note, as the current SSL Google Search is in Beta, it does not currently support different search options (i.e. Pictures, Videos, News, etc.). This, I would assume, will be expanded over time as the beta goes into a live production version of a secure Google Search. (Keep in mind, though, that Google often keeps its services in a perpetual beta environment, only recently removing the tag from Gmail and some of its other services.) Also, the search algorithm seems to be the same as well, though this is only tested by doing searches and comparing the results of the normal website to that of the results.


Of course, most of these sites have been implementing SSL into their services for quite some time. For instance, Hotmail (part of Windows Live) offers an option to use SSL encryption while logging on. Gmail and other Google services (Docs/Apps) offer this same functionality, as does Yahoo!’s services. However, this is the first time that one of the big three search engines has offered SSL encryption for search results.

Ultimately, I wouldn’t make too much of a big deal out of this, with the exception that it is interesting to hear about. For further information on SSL encryption and what it does, please feel free to refer to the following website: Tags: ,,,,


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