Do you know what the lock icon on your web browser means? If not, you’re far from alone. Google now plans to instead of A lock next to the address in Chrome with a variation of the “tune” icon you see below. Simply put, most people don’t understand it. According to Google’s research, only 11 percent of users realize that it refers to HTTPS encryption. Many people think the site is trustworthy – a problem when even phishing sites use the technology.
The tune icon doesn’t indicate authenticity, Google says. Instead, it signals that security is the default state. It also invites a click so that you use site controls. According to the company, many people don’t realize they can click the lock.
Most users will see the replacement icon in Chrome 117 on Android and desktop, which is scheduled to arrive in September. Since you can’t tap the icon in Chrome for iOS, Google pulls the icon entirely onto Apple’s mobile sites. If you can’t wait, turn on the Chrome Refresh 2023 flag and you can now see the icon in Chrome Canary.
In some respects, change has been slow. Google normalized HTTPS web connections in Chrome 90 two years ago, and came a few months after Mozilla made a similar change in Firefox. The company adds that more than 95 percent of page loads in Chrome for Windows use HTTPS. Like the floppy disk icon sometimes used to represent file storage, the lock is a relic of another era.
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