As a sign that Google didn’t like the NSA and the US government in general fooling around its customers’ e-mail accounts, the search giant tightened the security measures by making HTTPS connection a default feature.
HTTPS connections are a bit slower than the unsecured version, but the protection it provides is worth the time difference tenfold. Google has offered its customers the option of accessing Gmail using an HTTPS connection for a very long time now, but given the recent fears that really the entire world have been experiencing, and not only the American citizens, it decided to offer the e-mail service in HTTPS-only. Besides that, Google also promised that the service wouldn’t have any off-time.
Nicolas Lidzborski, Gmail Security Engineering Lead, announced in post on Google’s Official Blog that the feature is available on all accounts as of today: “Starting today, Gmail will always use an encrypted HTTPS connection when you check or send email. Gmail has supported HTTPS since the day it launched, and in 2010 we made HTTPS the default. Today’s change means that no one can listen in on your messages as they go back and forth between you and Gmail’s servers—no matter if you’re using public WiFi or logging in from your computer, phone or tablet.”
According to Lidzborski, Google also makes a promise regarding the availability of the e-mail service offered by the search giant: “Of course, being able to access your email is just as important as keeping it safe and secure. In 2013, Gmail was available 99.978 percent of the time, which averages to less than two hours of disruption for a user for the entire year. Our engineering experts look after Google’s services 24×7 and if a problem ever arises, they’re on the case immediately. We keep you informed by posting updates on the Apps Status Dashboard until the issue is fixed, and we always conduct a full analysis on the problem to prevent it from happening again.”
Personally, I’m glad to see that Google cares that much about the security and privacy of its customers. That being said, it definitely looks like the search giant sticks to its unofficial motto (“Don’t be evil”). If only more companies followed Google’s example, indiscreet governmental agencies would learn their place.
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