Google is using its massive reach and power for good as the search engine pressures websites to better protect the people using their services. The move involves a change in Google’s formula for determining search result rankings. Websites that automatically encrypt their services will now be ranked higher in Google’s recommendation system. The goal is to pressure web developers to adopt technology that defends against hackers breaking into websites and stealing users’ sensitive information.
Edward Snowden’s revelations shined a light on the gaping security holes in unencrypted websites. Encryption makes it more difficult for hackers and the NSA alike to grab unsuspecting user’s personal data transmitted over unsecured Wi-Fi networks. You can spot an encrypted website by the telling “https” in the URL.
Don’t expect encryption to give your website a huge boost however; for now, encryption will remain a small factor in the ultra secret formula, but Google says they will continue to place greater emphasis on security measures in the future.
For all the good this is doing for Web-surfers around the globe, it would be naïve not to spot Google’s bottom line. For Google to remain as profitable as it’s been for the last half decade, it needs for consumers to feel safe while surfing the Web.
Encryption is just one step toward a more secure Internet and will not prevent all security breaches caused by inadequate protection of the website servers and the general public’s lax attitude toward password security.