Just after Apple announced SSL for its MobileMe web apps, Google, not to be outdone, has announced an SSL search option for use with Google searches. If you use the https://www.google.com address to access Google, “an encrypted connection is created between your browser and Google. This secured channel helps protect your search terms and your search results pages from being intercepted by a third party on your network.” Using this address displays not only a padlock in your browser, but also a different logo:
As with many new Google products, this one has the “beta” label, but this is explained by the fact that:
it currently covers only the core Google web search product. To help avoid misunderstanding, when you search using SSL, you won’t see links to offerings like Image Search and Maps that, for the most part, don’t support SSL at this time. Also, since SSL connections require additional time to set up the encryption between your browser and the remote web server, your experience with search over SSL might be slightly slower than your regular Google search experience.
So if you want to use this new service, make sure to bookmark it; there’s no way to set it as the default search engine with Safari’s Search box. If you use Firefox, or some other browsers, however, you can add this as one of the search engines available from that browser’s search field.