Google has extended SSL coverage to its biggest service yet, the Web Search. The new encrypted search offers significant privacy protection at virtually no cost.
The HTTPS (Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure) is a protocol that makes use of SSL/TLS to encrypt HTTP communications. Even though HTTPS dates back to the '90s, until a few years back only a select number of websites, like online banking systems, enabled this security mechanism for entire browsing sessions.
It has always been a known fact that network administrators can snoop traffic passing through the infrastructure they control, yet people never really cared on a wide scale that their private communications could be intercepted and viewed without authorization. A more widespread need for HTTP encryption wasn't felt until the rapid proliferation of unsecured private wireless networks and hotspots, which made Man-in-the-Middle (MitM) attacks from ill-intent parties a lot more likely.
Session-wide HTTPS has been available for Gmail for years, however, the majority of users remained unaware of the option or of how to enable it. Finally, after repeated pleads
from security researchers, IT experts or privacy advocates and after performing extensive testing, Google enabled it
by default for all users of its email service.