Last week, we wrote about the problems some schools were having
with the new encrypted Google Search. Because any traffic flowing through it couldn’t be snooped on, students were using it to bypass the schools’ content filtering systems. However, the answer wasn’t simply blocking the https://www.google.com domain, as this would also block access to other services including Google Apps. Now, Google says it is working on a solution to fix this and the first step will be to move encrypted search to another domain.
“One option is for schools to use our SafeSearch lock feature, which is designed to help keep adult content out of our search results. But given how many computers some institutions have this is proving impractical in many cases,” Dave Girouard, president, Google Enterprise, wrote
“We’re working hard to address this issue as quickly as possible and in a few weeks we will move encrypted search to a new hostname – so schools can limit access to SSL search without disrupting other Google services, like Google Apps for Education,” he added.
The first step will be to move the encrypted Google Search over to a new domain. This is not ideal, but since the product is still in beta, it won’t affect users very much. Temporarily, this fixes the issue, as schools will be able to block encrypted search without affecting other Google products or the authentication services.
But, if Google plans to roll out the encrypted search on a wider scale or maybe even make it default at some point, like it did with Gmail, it won’t be able to just shed the google.com domain. Right now, Google is considering other options to get around this including moving all the authentication services to a dedicated domain with the goal of restoring encrypted search to its existing one. This, however, will happen some time from now.