Google Has a Crazy-Effective Plan to Increase Web Security

A blog about business and economics.
April 15 2014 9:46 AM

Encrypted Pages May Get Better Search Results From Google

168808554-google-engineer-ian-mckellar-wears-google-glass-during
Mustache-twirling hacker villains, foiled again.

Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Google might have a new and genius plan for improving Web security. According to a report in the Wall Street Journal, the search-engine giant is toying with giving a boost to encrypted pages in its search results to encourage websites to be more secure and make it harder to spy on users.

Google is proving just how seriously it takes security, especially after revelations about National Security Agency snooping rankled users. Last month, Google announced that it would use HTTPS encrypted connections whenever users logged onto Gmail and keep all emails encrypted as they moved between Google's servers and data centers.

Reassuring users about security habits has been something of a fad lately, with Google outlining its protocol in responding to government data request through an animated video and Microsoft posting an explainer on its own practices in a post unfortunately titled, "We're listening." Cloud storage services also jumped on the bandwagon with a proposal to hand Box's encryption keys to its customers.

Advertisement

If Google did incorporate encryption into its search metrics, it would be a powerful incentive for websites to up their security standards and a boon for users. But, as the Journal points out, that also assumes that encryption consistently works. And as the now-infamous "Heartbleed" bug in OpenSSL abruptly reminded Internet users last week, that's not always the case.

Alison Griswold is a Slate staff writer covering business and economics.

 

TODAY IN SLATE

Politics

Don’t Worry, Obama Isn’t Sending U.S. Troops to Fight ISIS

But the next president might. 

The Extraordinary Amicus Brief That Attempts to Explain the Wu-Tang Clan to the Supreme Court Justices

Amazon Is Officially a Gadget Company. Here Are Its Six New Devices.

The Human Need to Find Connections in Everything

It’s the source of creativity and delusions. It can harm us more than it helps us.

How Much Should You Loathe NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell?

Here are the facts.

Altered State

The Plight of the Pre-Legalization Marijuana Offender

What should happen to weed users and dealers busted before the stuff was legal?

Surprise! The Women Hired to Fix the NFL Think the NFL Is Just Great.

You Shouldn’t Spank Anyone but Your Consensual Sex Partner

Moneybox
Sept. 17 2014 5:10 PM The Most Awkward Scenario in Which a Man Can Hold a Door for a Woman
  News & Politics
Weigel
Sept. 18 2014 8:58 AM Does this Colorado Poll Show Latino Voters Bailing on the 2014 Election?
  Business
Business Insider
Sept. 17 2014 1:36 PM Nate Silver Versus Princeton Professor: Who Has the Right Models?
  Life
Food
Sept. 18 2014 9:34 AM How to Order Chinese Food First, stop thinking of it as “Chinese food.”
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 17 2014 6:14 PM Today in Gender Gaps: Biking
  Slate Plus
Slate Fare
Sept. 17 2014 9:37 AM Is Slate Too Liberal?  A members-only open thread.
  Arts
Television
Sept. 18 2014 8:53 AM The Other Huxtable Effect Thirty years ago, The Cosby Show gave us one of TV’s great feminists.
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 17 2014 9:00 PM Amazon Is Now a Gadget Company
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 18 2014 7:30 AM Red and Green Ghosts Haunt the Stormy Night
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 17 2014 3:51 PM NFL Jerk Watch: Roger Goodell How much should you loathe the pro football commissioner?