By Julian Hattem - 08/07/14 11:48 AM EDT
Google has begun to prioritize websites with extra security in an effort it hopes will encourage sites to better protect their data.
The world’s leading search engine announced in a blog post that it has already begun updating its algorithm to take site security and encryption into account, and may look to increase the importance of the metric to give preference to better-secured websites.
“For now it's only a very lightweight signal,” the company said, which affects less than 1 percent of searches throughout the world and matters less than captivating and original content.
“But over time, we may decide to strengthen it, because we’d like to encourage all website owners to switch from HTTP to HTTPS to keep everyone safe on the web,” analysts Zineb Ait Bahajji and Gary Illyes wrote.
“We hope to see more websites using HTTPS in the future,” they added. “Let’s all make the web more secure!”
In recent months, Google has made the issue a priority by announcing plans to offer end-to-end encryption for its emails. Other companies have followed suit with similar measures.
Security has been a major concern for online giants like Google in the wake of Edward Snowden’s revelations, which showed that agents at the National Security Agency were able to nab information about people through Google, Facebook and other companies. That’s created a lack of trust that could cause companies to miss out on as much as $180 billion over the next two years.