Google Chrome is making a drastic change to one of its core security features, according to the latest beta update. In the latest version, which allows Google to test the stability of new features ahead of launch, the secure website icon has been scrapped.
As it stands, whenever you navigate to a secure website within Google Chrome, you’ll find a closed padlock icon next to the Omnibox ( what Google calls the address bar / search bar). This handy little indicator is designed to allow Chrome users to know when they have navigated to a website that supports the secure “HTTPS” protocol.
However, as reported by security blog Bleeping Computer, the latest beta build of Chrome does away with this entirely.
When users head to an HTTPS website in Chrome beta 93, the padlock icon no longer appears. This surprise security change isn’t a sign of Google being lax when it comes to protecting Chrome users. Instead, the change has been made because a large proportion of sites on the internet are now secure.
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Instead, Chrome users will only be notified when navigate to a website that’s not secure. As is currently the case, whenever Chrome users head to an HTTP website – which isn’t using the secure protocol, the Omnibox will show a warning triangle icon as well as the label Not Secure.
If you have access to Chrome Beta or Chrome Canary then here’s how to test out this tweaked security feature…
• First, head to chrome://flags in the address bar
• Then search for the ‘security indicators’ section
• You then need to make sure ‘Omnibox Updated connection security indicators’ is changed from default to enabled
• After doing that you will then have to relaunch the browser
As always with features tested in the Chrome beta, it remains to be seen whether it ends up getting released to the general public. The Chrome 93 beta has only just been released, with the finished article reaching the stable channel from August 31.
The changes tested in this beta should be included in a stable version of Chrome, version 94, which will be released to users worldwide starting from September 21, 2021.
The most recent Chrome release was update 92 which began rolling out towards the end of last month. The patch brought with it 35 security fixes, including addressing high-rated and critical vulnerabilities.
Chrome 92 also expanded on the Chrome Actions feature, which automates some often used processes to help users speed up their productivity, introduced last November.
New things users can quickly type into the Chrome Omnibox are safety check, manage security settings and manage sync. Chrome 92 also added improvements to site isolation, which is an essential security feature of the browser. With this change extensions may no longer share processes with each other on desktop devices.
And finally, Chrome 92 also lets users now access a site’s permissions directly from the address bar in another time saving new tweak.
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