Google to offer encrypted search soon

Company exec says new move will come into effect the week starting May 21st

Tags: ComplaintEncryptionGoogle IncorporatedPrivacyUSA
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Google to offer encrypted search soon Search on Google.com will be encrypted to protect users from prying eyes. (Getty Images)
By  Vineetha Menon Published  May 19, 2010

Following the backlash Google faced for stealing data from open WiFi networks ‘mistakenly' , the search giant now says the incident highlighted just how easily accessible non-password protected networks are and revealed that it will be serving up an encrypted version of Google Search soon.

"Earlier this year, we encrypted Gmail for all our users, and next week we will start offering an encrypted version of Google Search," revealed Alan Eustace, senior VP, Engineering & Research in a company blog post dated May 14th.

Google began using encryption as a default for Gmail users only in 2010, while Yahoo! and Hotmail don't offer that same level of security and privacy as yet.

Users can check if pages are encrypted by looking to see whether the URL begins with ‘https', rather than just ‘http', with browsers showing a lock icon when the connection is secure.

In the same blog post, Eustace explains the WiFi incident in detail, which started when the Data Protection Authority in Hamburg, Germany asked to audit the WiFi data that Google Street View cars collected for use in location-based products like Google Maps for mobile. The request saw Google going over all the data collected and realised they were "mistakenly collecting samples of payload data from open (i.e. non-password-protected) WiFi networks" but adds that the data was never used in any Google products.

According to Eustace, Google is reaching out to regulators in the countries were data was stolen about how to dispose of it. Presently only data collected in Ireland has been deleted upon request by the Irish Data Protection Authority in the presence of an independent third party.

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