Google has been working on expanding its use of encrypted SSL connections across its many websites for the past couple of years. Last year, it debuted an encrypted version of its search engine which, while not completely on par with the regular version, offered a much more private browsing session.
Now, Google has started making the first steps towards making the encrypted connection the default for Google Search and will start diverting some visitors to the search site towards Google SSL
"As search becomes an increasingly customized experience, we recognize the growing importance of protecting the personalized search results we deliver," Evelyn Kao, Product Manager at Google, wrote
"As a result, we’re enhancing our default search experience for signed-in users. Over the next few weeks, many of you will find yourselves redirected to https://www.google.com (note the extra 's') when you’re signed in to your Google Account," she said.
Google hasn't actually said that it plans to switch over to the encrypted version or whether it will make it the default, but this seems to be the plan.
It looks like Google is starting with a field test, trying to figure out how users will react to the encrypted version, but, more importantly, how websites and advertisers will be affected.
One side effect of using Google SSL for searches is that websites won't be able to known what query led you to them, only that you came from Google.
The company is well aware of this, it's a big reason why it hasn't made the move sooner. Websites will still be able to get a list of the top 1,000 queries that drove traffic towards them, but won't know what each individual query was.
For advertisers, nothing changes, they'll still be able to get detailed statistics through Google AdWords and the browser will forward the actual query when you click on an ad.