Google Chrome to Get a New Security Icon Address Bar

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Have you ever noticed the Security icon in the address bar next to the URL? Since a long time ago, the sign has meant that the user’s website is safe and secure. Google says that’s no longer the case, though.

In a recent blog post, the tech giant said that it will soon get rid of the lock icon and replace it with a version of the tune icon, which is usually used for controls or settings. Google says that the new icon will be easier to click on and will not be a sign of “trustworthiness.”

Since the early versions of Netscape in the 1990s, when a site runs over HTTPS, a lock icon appears in the browser. The company says that this is no longer true and that HTTPS is now the standard, not the exception. So, it will change Google Chrome in a way that makes sense.

“The lock icon is meant to show that the network connection between the browser and site is a secure channel that can’t be tampered with or listened in on by third parties,” Google says in its blog. “However, it’s a holdover from a time when HTTPS wasn’t as common.”

“Despite our best efforts, our research in 2021 showed that only 11% of the people we studied knew what the lock icon meant exactly,” the company says.

Google says this mistake is “not harmless” because almost all phishing sites use HTTPS and, because of this, also show the lock icon.

It says that changing the lock icon with a neutral icon will help stop people from thinking that the lock icon means a page is safe. It also says that security should be Chrome’s default state. Google says in a blog post that the new icon will make permission controls and other security information easier to find while avoiding the confusion that comes with the lock icon.

As the company said it would, the new tune icon will roll out with Chrome 117, which is due to come out in early September 2023. This is part of a general redesign for desktop platforms.

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