Google is replacing Chrome’s lock icon because most people don’t know what it means | Engadget

Do you know what the lock icon in your web browser means? If not, you are far from alone. Google now plans to replace the lock next to the address in Chrome with a variant of the “tune in” icon you see below. Simply put, most people don’t get it. According to Google research, only 11 percent of users realize that it refers to HTTPS encryption. Many others think it means the site is trustworthy, a problem when even phishing sites use the technology.

The melody icon does not imply trustworthiness, says Google. Instead, it indicates that security is the default state. It also invites clicking, so you’re more likely to use the controls on the site. Many people didn’t even realize they could click the lock, according to the company.

Google Chrome 'tune' icon


Most users will see the replacement icon in Chrome 117 on Android and desktop, which is scheduled to arrive in early September. Since you can’t touch the icon in Chrome for iOS, Google is pulling out the icon entirely on Apple’s mobile platforms. If you can’t wait, you can see the icon now in Chrome Canary if you enable the Chrome Refresh 2023 flag.

The change is overdue in some respects. Google preferred HTTPS web connections in Chrome 90 two years ago, and that came months after Mozilla made a similar change in Firefox. More than 95 percent of page loads in Chrome for Windows use HTTPS, the company adds. Like the floppy disk icon sometimes used to represent saved files, the lock is a relic from another era.

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