Google is pushing to encrypt more of its services

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Google is finding increasingly effective ways to keep its data secure.
Photo: David J. Roger

The latest Google Transparency Report shows that since January 23, 77 percent of all requests to its servers have used encrypted connections.

The numbers on the new report are current as of February 27, and the company says it’s “working hard” to achieve full encryption across all of its services.

Interestingly, the 77 percent figure in the Google Transparency Report (via Engadget) does not include YouTube figures, nor does the chart that shows encrypted connections for individual products. We aren’t sure why the omission is there, but a quick check at the site shows that it’s at least encrypted where we are.

Gmail is still the safest Google product by far, with a 100 percent encryption rate. Maps, Advertising, News, and Finance aren’t quite as secure; they have 83, 77, 60, and 58 percent encryption, respectively. Google has used HTTPS-only connections for its mail client since March of 2014, and it says it’s working on shoring up all of its goods.

While 100 percent encryption is the eventual goal, Google identifies a few obstacles to achieving it, including the fact that older software and hardware may not support the latest coding protocols. They also have some regional issues, since some countries resist secured connections, and even certain web products may be tough to lock down.

“Certificate management can be challenging for products like Blogger, where a user’s non-Google domain can be used,” the report says.

Web and phone security is all over the news lately, especially surrounding the fight between Apple and the U.S. government over the contents of dead San Bernardino shooter Syed Farook’s iPhone. Google is pretty upfront about government requests, and it even maintains that information in a separate report.

It is worth noting, however, that while Apple employs “end-to-end” encryption — meaning that information is scrambled along its entire route from sender to recipient — Google has confirmed (at least as of last May) that its transmissions are only encrypted “en route”. That means that while the stuff you send may be completely secure on its way to the Google data center for rerouting, it’s possible the company can freely access it once it’s there.