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By default, Firefox set to utilize Google Secure Search

The Firefox browser is well on track to put to use a secure method to search Google by default. The change will reportedly help prevent any potential ‘monitoring’ of what visitors are searching for. It will further curtail the ability for publishers to find out how users locate or reach their websites – with exception of Google advertisers. An apparent loophole in Google Secure Search will continue to provide them this data.

The company is in the process of testing the change to employ SSL for built-in Google searches in their Firefox nightly channel. It will probably move through their Aurora and Beta release channels before finally being shipped to all Firefox users. This will incorporate migrating the changes to non-English version as well

Backgrounder to Google Encrypted Search

According to SEO industry grapevine, a staunch privacy advocate, Christopher Soghoian, led a strong push almost a year ago for secure search to be ‘the default’ in the browser. Google Chrome team then reportedly argued that using Google Encrypted Search (a secure version of Google) wouldn’t work, as it didn’t offer the features users would expect.

Since then, the search engine giant has had another method, Google SSL Search, of secure searching the default for it for Google.com’s signed-in users. When the search engine turned Google SSL Search on last year by default for all logged-in users, it projected it as a move to protect privacy. Nevertheless, it left a loophole for advertisers and did the same with Google Webmaster Central.

Firefox switch to SSL search

However, Google’s search team is now ready to give a go-ahead to Firefox to make the switch towards SSL search for signed-in users on google.com, promised to be made available soon on other Google domains gradually.

This particular switchover change has formally been made. The Firefox notes that all users who search with its built-in features like its search box will do their searches using a secure connection unless some issues crop up the exception being those users of Firefox who have their default search engine something else from Google.

Implications for searchers

What does the shift mean for Firefox users? First, it means more security, as the change reduces the potential of eavesdropping by outsiders on what you are searching for. A secure connection also means what you are searching for can be known only by Google itself, apart from Google’s advertisers and those using Google Webmaster Central.

The latest change made by Firefox will further make the search more secure for a wider cross-section of users. The goal of full-fledged privacy protection can be further met through Google’s would upgrading of the Encrypted Search service, for Firefox to use it.

Implications for publishers

The move will not be music to publishers’ ears, especially since they heavily rely on data related to search term passed along by referrers. The change also means the ‘not provided’ percentage will only rise for all publishers.