Google Updates SafeSearch Options for Network Administrators, Adds HTTPS support
Google has made a new update to SafeSearch—a feature designed to filter out explicit content from search results—to support HTTPS/SSL encryption, says Engineering Director Brian Fitzpatrick in the Google Online Security Blog.
Migrating SafeSearch options to HTTPS ensures that users’ connections to Google remain secure and encrypted. Prior to the update, Fitzpatrick noted that SafeSearch “[was] the target of abuse by other groups looking to snoop on people’s searches.”
Offering network administrators the ability to filter out any offensive and unsuitable content through the use of SafeSearch has been very helpful, especially for schools, Fitzpatrick says. However, the risk associated with sending data over an unencrypted connection to Google consistently poses a threat to users. As a result, Google will be removing and discontinuing the old tool in December.
“Going forward, organizations can require SafeSearch on their networks while at the same time ensuring that their users’ connections to Google remain encrypted,” stated Fitzpatrick.
Administrators, mostly those at schools who employ the feature to prevent students from viewing explicit content, can also use the tool’s “existing functionality,” including manually setting SafeSearch on individual browsers in the network or by setting user policies on managed devices like Chromebooks. Administrators can also accomplish this by turning on the SafeSearch virtual IP address. “When SafeSearch VIP is turned on, teachers and students at your school will see a notification the first time they go to Google; this will let them know that SafeSearch is on,” Google said in their help forum.
This move by Google is part of the company’s efforts to enable encrypted services across its product line. In 2010, Google introduced HTTPS by default for Gmail and encrypted search, which, for a period of time, received numerous positive feedback from users. The company has also encrypted the links between its massive data centers around the globe—a move driven by revelations that the NSA had found a method to tap previously unencrypted connections.
For more information about SafeSearch, visit Google’s help forum.
What’s your take on Google’s move to transfer SafeSearch to HTTPS/SSL encryption? Do you think this will ensure 100% protection to users? Let us know by posting in the Comments section below.
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