Google Internal Audit Reveals 77 Percent Of Its Online Traffic Is Encrypted

In the spirit of consumer privacy and security, Google is going to great effort to make surfing the web and using online services as safe and secure as possible. Encryption is key to that mission, and in its latest transparency report, Google revealed that over three-quarters (77 percent) of requests to its servers used encrypted connections.

That's up from 52 percent at the end of 2013 and 65 percent around the same date a year ago, though that still leaves nearly a quarter (23 percent) of its traffic unencrypted. As Google is quick to point out, web encryption schemes like SSL or TLS help "protect against eavesdroppers, man-in-the-middle attacks, and hijackers who attempt to spoof a trusted website."

Google Laptop

Google says it's been working hard toward achieving 100 percent encryption across all of its products and services, though admittedly there are "several technical and political challenges" that make it a tough goal to reach. Some examples include:
  • Older hardware and software do not support modern encryption technologies.
  • Certain countries and organizations block or otherwise degrade HTTPS traffic.
  • Some organizations do not have the desire or technical resources to implement HTTPS.
  • Certificate management can be challenging for products like Blogger, where a user's non-Google domain can be used.
As for individual services, Gmail and Drive are both entirely encrypted. However, Google Finance and News have a longer way to go at 58 percent and 60 percent. Google's Advertising and Maps services fare a bit better, with the former encrypting 77 percent of traffic and the latter now at 83 percent.

The timing of Google's transparency report comes as Apple and FBI are locked in a battle over iPhone encryption, the outcome of which could set a precedent that affects all companies, Google included.

"Our aim with this project is to hold ourselves accountable and encourage others to encrypt so we can make the web even safer for everyone," Google stated in a blog post.

Google's certainly making strides, but also notes that "we still have a ways to go."