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Google: Gmail encryption increases 25 percent, new features launching now

by Todd Haselton | March 25, 2016March 25, 2016 12:03 pm PST

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Privacy is more important than ever, particularly as companies and agencies such as Apple and the FBI spar in the face of the public. Google, like Apple, is working to secure customer information wherever and whenever possible, and the company recently added a security feature to Gmail that it says is being used more frequently than ever before. Now it’s adding even more.

Back in February, Google introduced a simple icon that lets users know if they’ve received an email that didn’t support encryption or wasn’t encrypted at all. The icon would suggest that, perhaps, you should be wary that the conversation you’re holding with someone isn’t as secure as it could be. Google says that it noticed a 25 percent increase in encrypted emails traveling through Gmail since the feature was introduced, which is awesome. Now it’s pushing even harder.

Google said today that it is working with Yahoo!, Microsoft and Comcast to create a “SMTP Strict Transport Security” specification that, it hopes, will be adopted by many other companies and encourage people to only send encrypted emails. Ultimately, that’ll help keep Gmail more secure. That’s not all, though. It’s also introducing new features.

Gmail now has a built-in Safe Browsing function that will alert users if a link they click could harm their computer by directing them to an unsafe site. Additionally, Google will alert users if they might be being targeted by a state-sponsored attack, otherwise known as an attack from a foreign government. “These warnings are rare—fewer than 0.1% of users ever receive them—but they are critically important,” Google explained. “The users that receive these warnings are often activists, journalists, and policy-makers taking bold stands around the world.”

Google said it will work to add new features in the future, but Gmail is definitely safer now than ever before.

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Todd Haselton

Todd Haselton has been writing professionally since 2006 during his undergraduate days at Lehigh University. He started out as an intern with...

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