Recently Google announced that its encrypting the search queries and the corresponding results page for users signed into their Google Account. Secured search is not new, in fact Google launched a secured search service at https://encrypted.google.com last year, the difference is this will now become the default behavior.
Why this change? Google says that it is just following the broader industry initiative like those of Twitter and Facebook. Google explains "As search becomes an increasingly customized experience, we recognize the growing importance of protecting the personalized search results we deliver. As a result, we’re enhancing our default search experience for signed-in users." For users who are not signed into Google Account can navigate to https://www.google.com.
How will it impact the users? This will protect the users against unwanted eavesdropping particularly when using unsecured Internet connection in a public setting. Since there is an additional step of encrypting the data, the browsing experience can be slower.
Not everyone is excited about this announcement. The Search Engine Optimization (SEO) industry experts argue that this is Google's attempt to sideline them. By securing the connection, digital marketers will no longer be able to see what search results lead users to a website. This is an important metric for them to improving a website attractiveness. The information however is available to Adwords advertisers who will see this data irrespective of the connection used, giving them the edge over the SEO firms.
As an end user I am very pleased with this announcement. Hopefully it will reduce some of those annoying ads that seem to follow me based on my prior searches.