Google’s HTTPS Lock Icon Is Now A Thing Of The Past

Published on November 6th, 2023

3 min read

Google announced this Tuesday that it’s removing its padlock icon on Chrome to improve browser awareness.

A neutral icon will now replace the existing one to bust the common beliefs of website security and emphasize its true meaning of a secure HTTPS connection. Google has deduced that its current padlock icon is misleading and opens up possibilities of security threats to its users.

The change will be effective with the launch of Chrome 117 in September this year to ensure greater clarity and better UX.

Why the sudden change in the icon?

According to Google’s recent research, users associated the icon with site safety.

Most users failed to understand that the icon indicated connections via a secure protocol, not the idea that a site is safe.

As contradictory as it sounds, users were being misled into a false sense of security. They were increasingly exposed to potentially harmful websites like malware and phishing sites that also display the padlock icon.

Even though Google redesigned the icon in 2016 after carrying out similar research, users still misinterpreted it. In another study conducted in 2021, data showed that a mere 11% of participants could understand the icon’s exact meaning.
Misunderstandings are so prevalent that organizations and even public institutions like the FBI had to publish disclaimers in the past, warning people of imminent danger.

So, what next?

Eliminating the padlock icon is a part of the web evolution process and UX demands.
Chrome has been working on the icon since 2018 to make it more oriented toward its intended meaning. It even introduced the word ‘secure’ in green.

Google is now introducing the ‘tune icon’ from September to communicate the HTTPS status of the website without hinting at safety.

Let’s take a look at Google font’s tune icon examples:

And here’s the new icon that Google will introduce:

Moreover, Google also stated in its blog that the new icon is:

  • More clickable,
  • More orientated towards settings and other controls,
  • Not directly associated with ‘trustworthiness.’

Chrome announced its desktop and Android versions would see the changes but not the iOS version since the new icon cannot be tapped.

The changed icon is currently scheduled to roll out sometime in September 2023 with Chrome 117.

You can read more about Google’s official announcement here.

Rajashree Goswami

I tweak my imaginations and thoughts to create creative & narrative content. At FPGrowth, as Content Writer Lead, I underpin solutions into words, and put the assessments into threaded paragraphs to solve the readers' pain points. When not on my table, you can find me roaming around nature with the shutter on or having an insightful conversation over a cup of Latte!!
LinkedIn: @Rajashree

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