Google has moved towards encrypting all search activity, except for clicks on ads. This has been done, according to Google, to provide extra protection for searchers who can now expect a secure search.
Way back in October 2011, Google had begun encrypting searches for people that were logged into Google. The reason they gave was to block anyone who may be trying to eavesdrop on a string of searches. They also wanted to conceal to actual search terms from publishers as they felt that some of them may be too private to divulge.
On encryption of searches, publishers are unable to find the search terms after someone clicks on the links. In Google Analytics, a ‘Not Provided’ notation replaces the actual term.
The past two years have witnessed a steady increase in ‘Not Provided’ activity. This was prompted by the use of encrypted search by Mozilla Firefox in July 2012, Apple’s Safari browser in iOS6 in September 2012 and Chrome in January 2013, even when people weren’t signed in at Google. However, in the past months, the encryption has shown a spike.
The chart tracks the percentage of search terms being withheld across various websites. The spike begins around the week of September 4 and currently almost 75% of terms are being withheld from publishers.
The increased subscription may be related to Google’s National Security Agency pushback. In June, Google was accused of providing NSA direct access to search data. Since then Google has tried to be more transparent regarding the spying requests it receives.
Another reason may be to increase ad sales. The publishers can still see the withheld terms, but through AdWords system. In fact, Google does not hide the search terms entirely, but stops them from transmitting across the open Internet. Publishers may log in Google Webmaster Tools area to see these terms.Coming soon "100% Not Provided" asÂ Google Begins Encrypting Non-Paid Searches!,