How to Perform Encrypted Google Searches From Firefox and Google Chrome

Quite some days back, Google introduced encrypted Google searches. The concept of encryption comes into play when Internet services use secure socket layers, better known as SSL connections to encrypt the information that travels between your computer and their service.

An encrypted service is recognized by a web address that starts with “https” and this is the default address for any e-commerce or banking site, where the transaction of money is involved. If you try to access Paypal by typing http://www.paypal.com the address will be redirected to https://www.paypal.com

What is Google SSL Search and Why Use it?

SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) provides secure connections for web browsing, email, instant messaging and other data transfers. When you perform a search over an SSL connection, the query and search traffic are encrypted so that they can not be read any intermediate third party. This includes Internet service providers, network administrators or may be the employer of your office.

SSL search is different from the regular Google search in the following number of ways:

  • SSL Search is slightly slower than normal Google search because of the need for secure connection.
  • SSL search is only supported in Google web search and not for Google images or any other Google products.
  • SSL search may turn off your browser’s referrers

More information on Google SSL Search can be found in this page.

How to Use Encrypted Google Searches from Firefox Search Bar

If you want to change your default search engine in Firefox search bar to the Secure version of Google, following are the steps involved:

1. Install the Add to search bar Firefox add-on. This extension makes any webpage’s search functionality available in the Firefox search bar. You will have to restart Firefox for the changes to take effect.

2. Open https://www.google.com in a new browser tab. This is the more ‘Secure’ version of Google, known as Google SSL search and it’s currently in Beta.

google-ssl-search

3. Right click on the search box and select “Add to Search bar”, as shown below

google-ssl-search-firefox

4. This will open a pop up window asking you to enter a name for the search engine. Enter a name as “Secure Google”or “Google SSL” or anything of your choice. You can also add a keyword in the keyword text box, but that isn’t mandatory.

google-add-search-engine-name

5. Now you will see that the Google SSL search has been added to the Firefox search bar. You can change the order of your preferred search engine by clicking the arrow placed at the extreme left of the Firefox search bar.

google-firefox-search-bar

That’s it, your Google SSL search bar is ready for action. Whenever you want to use the secured version of Google.com, use this search engine. Alternatively, you can also type in https://www.google.com in the browser address bar or bookmark it as your homepage. Also read: More tricks for Firefox Address bar

How to Use Google SSL Search from Google Chrome

Google Chrome does not have a search bar like Firefox but you can use the KB SSL Enforce extension to use the encrypted version of Google. The extension automatically detects whether a website supports the SSL protocol and if the site supports it, the extension redirects you to the SSL version of the site.

Once the extension is installed, simply type Google.com in the chrome address bar and you will automatically be redirected to the SSL version of Google at https://www.google.com.

google-ssl-enforcer-extension

You can use the extension options to blacklist or whitelist some selected sites. For example: you may want to blacklist Facebook.com because the SSL version of Facebook is known to have some problems with Facebook chat. The extension does not perform any redirects once a site is put in the blacklist or when Google Chrome is running in “Incognito” mode.

Have you used the encrypted version of Google yet? Do you think, it is necessary or do you think that it’s just another way to perform a search and makes no difference to the search experience? Please share your ideas in the comments section.

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