Google Has a Crazy-Effective Plan to Increase Web Security

Moneybox
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

The Slatest

Ben Bradlee Dead at 93

The legendary Washington Post editor presided over the paper’s Watergate coverage.

This Scene From All The President’s Men Captures Ben Bradlee’s Genius

Renée Zellweger’s New Face Is Too Real

Sleater-Kinney Was Once America’s Best Rock Band

Can it be again?

Whole Foods Is Desperate for Customers to Feel Warm and Fuzzy Again

The XX Factor

I’m 25. I Have $250.03.

My doctors want me to freeze my eggs.

The XX Factor
Oct. 20 2014 6:17 PM I’m 25. I Have $250.03. My doctors want me to freeze my eggs.
Technocracy

Forget Oculus Rift

This $25 cardboard box turns your phone into an incredibly fun virtual reality experience.

George Tiller’s Murderer Threatens Another Abortion Provider, Claims Free Speech

The Congressional Republican Digging Through Scientists’ Grant Proposals

  News & Politics
The World
Oct. 21 2014 3:13 PM Why Countries Make Human Rights Pledges They Have No Intention of Honoring
  Business
Moneybox
Oct. 21 2014 5:57 PM Soda and Fries Have Lost Their Charm for Both Consumers and Investors
  Life
The Vault
Oct. 21 2014 2:23 PM A Data-Packed Map of American Immigration in 1903
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 21 2014 3:03 PM Renée Zellweger’s New Face Is Too Real
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Oct. 21 2014 1:02 PM Where Are Slate Plus Members From? This Weird Cartogram Explains. A weird-looking cartogram of Slate Plus memberships by state.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Oct. 21 2014 9:42 PM The All The President’s Men Scene That Perfectly Captured Ben Bradlee’s Genius
  Technology
Technology
Oct. 21 2014 5:38 PM Justified Paranoia Citizenfour offers a look into the mind of Edward Snowden.
  Health & Science
Climate Desk
Oct. 21 2014 11:53 AM Taking Research for Granted Texas Republican Lamar Smith continues his crusade against independence in science.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.