Google’s really sticking it to the man this week, first over the Chinese censorship issue and now with their battle over Gmail security, switching from “http” to the far safer “https” as the default setting.
What does this mean for you? Not much admittedly, as they’ve been offering the option for using https since 2008. You can turn it off if you want to – at your own peril – but as Gmail Engineering Director Sam Schillace said:
“Using https helps protect data from being snooped by third parties, such as in public wifi hotspots. We initially left the choice of using it up to you because there’s a downside: https can make your mail slower since encrypted data doesn’t travel across the web as quickly as unencrypted data.
“Over the last few months, we’ve been researching the security/latency tradeoff and decided that turning https on for everyone was the right thing to do.”