Use Encrypted Google Search & Products In Firefox [Security]

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Do you know that your communication can be monitored because you are not using a Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) connection to encrypt the information that travels between your computer and Google? If you find the URL of any website starting with https://, it means it is using SSL and is 100% secure. Google now supports SSL for most of it’s products and has recently rolled out the support for the main homepage as well.

Update: Thanks to Bill for pointing it out. SSL may not be 100% secure but it is atleast it is better than an unencrypted connection.

Go ahead and type https://www.google.com and you will see the SSL icon next to Google logo. This means any search you make will be encrypted and cannot be monitored by anyone, including the ISP.

ssl google search

Typing https before the URL when trying out various Google Products can be annoying. Also keep in mind that Firefox does not support this new encrypted search.

Secure the Address Bar

The first step to secure yourself would be to make sure both the address bar and the search bar are pointing to the secure Google search result page. To do so first type about:config in the address bar and hit Enter. Now search for the following key “keyword.URL” and open it. Change the http:// part to https:// and hit OK.

firefox secure address bar

Secure The Search Bar

Next, it is important to make sure that the search bar is taking you to the secure Google search result page. For this, grab the add-on called Add To Search Bar, head over to the secure Google homepage, right-click the search box, and select Add to Search Bar from the context menu. When done, a pop-up box will open up where you need to give it a name, I named it Google Secure.

Add To Search bar

Now select this new search engine from the Search Bar context menu as shown in the screenshot below.

google secure ssl search bar

Force SSL Connection On All Google Products

The above two steps are useful to add security to both the address bar and the search bar but they will only help in securing the search. What about other Google services? This is where Google Secure Pro greasemonkey script comes in.

For Beginners: If you don’t know about Greasemonkey scripts and their benefits, read the introduction post.

Once installed, it will force Google products to use (https) secure connection. As for now,, it supports Google Dictionary, Google Finances, Google Webmasters, Google Voice, Google Contacts, Google Notebook, Google Knol, Google Sites, Google Groups, Google History, Google Bookmarks, and Google Reader.

google products secure ssl

You are done. Now your search and all activities will be encrypted and cannot be monitored.

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  • Bill Prentice

    “If you find the URL of any website starting with https://, it means it is using SSL and is 100% secure.”

    “This means any search you make will be encrypted and cannot be monitored by anyone, including the ISP.”

    These two statements are simply not true. SSL encryption has been cracked before. NOTHING is 100% secure. In looking at it I noticed that the Google SSL CErt is a 128 byte long SHA-1 with RSA 1024 bit. SHA-1 is vulnerable to collision attacks with less than 2^63 ops. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) will be phasing out SHA-1 in favor of SHA-2 this year according to it’s plans.

    • Thanks for pointing this out. Corrected!

  • arun

    Wonderful post, thank you!

  • Irving

    Thank you for explaining the Search Engine part, now searching using SSL. 😀

  • Bartosz

    “Images” option disappeared when looking on search results of Google secure. :/