In a shift aimed at fostering wider use of encryption on the Web, Google is tweaking its search engine to favor sites that use HTTPS to protect end users' privacy and security.
Sites that properly implement the transport layer security (TLS) protocol may be ranked higher in search results than those that transmit in plaintext, company officials said in a blog post published Wednesday. The move is designed to motivate sites to use HTTPS protections across a wider swath of pages rather than only on login pages or not at all. Sites that continue to deliver pages over unprotected HTTP could see their search ranking usurped by competitors that offer HTTPS. Facebook is also getting more serious about encryption, with plans to acquire PrivateCore, a company that develops encryption software to protect and validate data stored on servers.
In Wednesday's post, Google Webmaster Trends Analysts Zineb Ait Bahajji and Gary Illyes noted that Google was among the first sites to offer end-to-end HTTPS protection by default across virtually all of its properties. It has also offered a variety of tools to help sites detect and recover from security breaches. They went on to write: