Google is replacing the HTTPS icon because no one knows what it means
Google hopes to improve users’ security awareness and reduce the risk of online threats by making it easier for people to identify secure websites.
Google, the world’s leading search engine, is changing the security icon that appears on websites to make it more understandable for users. The decision comes after a study conducted in 2021, which revealed that only 11% of participants knew the meaning of the current padlock icon. The study indicates that many users find the current symbol confusing, and therefore, Google is replacing it with a new icon that will be easier to interpret.
Starting with Chrome 117, set to release in September, the padlock icon will be replaced with a new symbol that will be part of the browser’s redesign. The change fits the context of Google’s efforts to improve online safety for users and make it easier for them to identify secure websites.
The current padlock icon has been in use since the 1990s when Netscape introduced the HTTPS protocol. This protocol allows users to send confidential data over the internet securely using encryption. The padlock icon indicated that the network connection was secure and that data sent through it was protected. However, this icon is no longer relevant, as over 95% of Chrome web pages loaded on Windows now use HTTPS.
Google is concerned that users may assume that the padlock icon is a universal indication of site reliability. However, this is not entirely true, as the lock icon only indicates that the network connection is secure and does not provide protection against phishing attacks or other online threats.
By replacing the padlock icon with a new, more understandable symbol, Google anticipates to improve user awareness in the area of online security and reduce the risk of online threats pulling through. The new icon will help identify secure websites easily, and users will be able to browse the web with greater confidence.
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