Google will replace one of the oldest features of Chrome because no one knows what it really means. He lock icon, which indicates a secure connection between the user and the server, has been a vital part of browsers for decades. However, the massive adoption of HTTPS and the little knowledge about its use led the technology giant to make the decision to replace it.
In a Chromium blog post, Google announced that will replace the original icon with a more neutral one to adjust site settings. The idea is easy access to controls, while establishing that the security of the web is active. The new button will be located in the same position in the address bar and will open a pop-up window with the list of sensors and devices to which the web we are visiting has access.
Google ensures that the neutral indicator will prevent the icon from being associated with page trustworthiness. Despite the company redesigning the button in the middle of the last decade, a 2021 study found that only 11% of the participants understood the meaning of the lock.
Our research has also shown that many users never understood that clicking the lock icon revealed important information and controls. We think the new icon helps make permission controls and additional security information more accessible, while avoiding the misunderstandings that plague the lock icon.
the original icon generates a false sense of security in the content of a website for many users. This has been exploited by hackers by designing bogus sites that attempt to steal their visitors’ information.
Why is there a lock in Google Chrome?
The lock icon, present since the first versions of Netscape Navigator, is used to show that there is a secure connection between the browser and the server where the web is hosted. The padlock reflects the presence of an SSL/TLS certificateso the data will not be intercepted.
The generations that grew up with the iPhone may not know that there was a time when people were afraid to shop online for fear of data theft. The lock icon or secure connection messages helped change this. Some browsers, like Internet Explorer, went a step further by adding the name of the SSL certificate.
Subsequently, Google, Mozilla, and other companies ran campaigns to drive the adoption of HTTPS. “Site not secure” warnings or websites with a red background took effect and adoption went from 48% (December 2013) to 95% (April 2023). With that, padlock utility moved to the backgroundalthough it is maintained as access to other security controls on the site.
He new icon will debut in Chrome 117 in early September 2023. Google confirmed that it will continue to alert its users if the connection is not secure.