Industry News: Google Open Up Its Current Status on HTTPS

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Google released new data that demonstrates the increased use of HTTPS across its servers, signalling tighter security and assurance in the use of Google products in its transparency report.

In the past couple of years, Google has been working hard towards making HTTPS Everywhere by encouraging and leading the use of encryption through SSL/TLS implementation. All Google platforms such as the renown Google Search Engine, Youtube, Google Documents, Gmail are operating with HTTPS backend. Google has also in Dec 2015, reiterated its prioritisation of HTTPS in Search Engine Ranking Pages (SERP) to highlight the importance of encryption in web communication to its partners and users. With all these planned out, Google aims to achieve 100% encryption across all products and services in time to come.

google https requests

As of March 2016, Google has officially reached the 75% mark for the percentage of requests to Google’s servers that used encrypted connections.

Challenges Ahead in Full Implementation

In the transparency report, Google highlighted some obstacles they face in its move towards 100% encryption in which (1) there may be software and hardware that may be outdated and do not support modern encryption technologies (2) some countries have blocked or degrade HTTPS traffic and (3) organisations do not intend to implement HTTPS.

Benefits of Encryption

Google would like to encourage the use of encryption for it keeps browsing activities safe on the web. While HTTPS is important for sites where personal data are collected such as finance and e-commerce websites, these days it’s important to encrypt sites where there are search entries by users, in an effort to protect users behaviour patterns. For example, Google implemented HTTPS for their search engines, making it hard for anyone to track a person’s search behaviour.

What’s Going to Happen

If the adoption rate for HTTPS continues to increase steadily (as seen in the graph above), we should expect to see 100% encryption in another 1-3 years time. Everyone should do their part in making the web safe and the first step towards thise would be to implement SSL/TLS certificate in servers.

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