Google has had a long history of taking steps to make the web more secure for everyone. One of their early moves involved warning users via popup box when they surfed their way to a site that did not use the secure socket (HTTPS) protocol.
This warning was good for users but didn’t do anything to prompt website owners to begin adopting HTTPS as the web’s standard. Google tweaked their ranking algorithm to hit HTTP sites with a slight ranking penalty compared to HTTPS sites.
That strategy seems to have borne fruit. Today more than 90 percent of all web connections are made using the secure socket protocol. That is a huge victory for both Google and everyone who spends any amount of time online.
With that success the company has recently decided to stop displaying an indicator when you are visiting a secure website and only show a graphical warning display when you’re not.
You may have noticed a small padlock icon next to the address bar on your Chrome browser. That’s the icon that’s going away. Only the “unlocked padlock” will display in instances where a site is not using the secure socket protocol.
If you’re interested in testing out the new feature, that’s as easy as downloading the Chrome 93 Beta or Chrome 94 Canary build. Once you have either of those, you simply type in “Chrome://flags” in the address bar and hit “Enter.” Once you do that, search for “Security Indicators” and you’ll see “Omnibox Updated Connection Security Indicators.” You’ll find two options beneath this: Enabled or Disabled. Simply select “Enable” and relaunch the web browser when prompted to do so.
When you surf your way to a site using the Secure Socket Protocol you will no longer see the lock icon. It’s not a big change but it is well worth checking out.