In April, Google made , but that doesn’t mean the company’s long-standing push to make the protocol as widely used as possible is over. On Wednesday, Google detailed new features it will introduce in Chrome to further push HTTPS adoption.
With Chrome 94, Google will introduce a feature called HTTPS-First Mode. Much like its , the tool will attempt to ensure you always connect to a website over HTTPS. When that’s not possible, Chrome will display a warning that you’re putting your privacy and security at risk. At first, users will need to turn on the feature, though Google says it may make it the default for everyone down the road.
Ahead of Chrome 94, the company has a separate HTTPS-related experiment planned. Starting with Chrome 93, Google will replace the lock icon in the address bar, which indicates you’re securely connected to a website, with a more “neutral” downward arrow.
The company says it’s doing this to see if to “improve the discoverability of critical privacy and security information.” According to Google, only 11 percent of participants in a recent study knew what the icon meant. Most people assumed it was Chrome’s way of saying the website they were visiting was trustworthy, which is a potentially risky leap to make. The experiment won’t change the icon you’ll see when you connect to a website over HTTP. It will continue to say “Not Secure” in the address bar.
Despite all that it’s doing to make HTTPS as ubiquitous as possible, Google says it will continue to support HTTP for the time being. At the same time, the company notes it will explore whether it should limit or completely restrict certain Chrome features when you don’t have a secure connection to a website.