Google has announced that it is “making search more secure”. What it is doing is ensuring that for all people who are logged into Google at the “dot com” site their searches will be encrypted. This, according to Google, is because search is “personal”. So, my first question is: what makes it personal today and not when Google began 13 years ago? If search is personal, then it always has been, surely?
In encrypting your search terms two things will happen:
- Companies will no longer learn what exactly brought people to their website
- Schools and parents could open up their systems to porn searches because content filters will not be able to decrypt the search
Google claims that the changes will only affect a small proportion of users. Maybe. They also do provide help to ensure that content filters continue to work, such as in schools. If you are happy with changing DNS settings and Port Numbers, then great..! But if you are non-technical expert there’s now a chance that the filters you have in place for your children will not work. Thanks Google. (By the way, Google, I assume you have told every head teacher individually about this and not expecting them just to “find out”?).
As if that is not bad enough you will no longer know if all that money you spent on keyword research and SEO is worthwhile because you will have no way of finding out if anyone came to your website as a result of the keywords you are targeting. Except if you advertise on Google – then you will get the data. Surprise, surprise.
Google claims this is to help us. Frankly, it looks like a cynical move to make sure the only search data we can find useful in our business is that which leads us to advertise on Google.
Google is absolutely right that we need protection in some way from prying eyes, hackers and the like. But the method they have chosen and the way they are implementing it could be more negative for your business and potentially for your children. Not only that – the search will be much slower because of the use of “Secure Sockets Layer” and encryption.
- HTTPS: Google Wants to Make Search Safer (siliconfilter.com)
- Google Encrypts More Searches (eff.org)
Graham Jones is an Internet Psychologist who studies the way people use the online world, in particular how people engage with businesses. He uses this knowledge to help companies improve their online connections to their customers and potential customers and offers consultancy, workshops, masterclasses and webinars. He also speaks regularly at conferences and business events. Graham is an award-winning writer and the author of 32 books, several of which are about various aspects of the Internet. For more information connect with me on Google+