Gmail Defaults Accounts To Https
In this Facebook and Twitter era, the most popular medium of communication and data transfer remains to be e-mail. Maybe someday that will not be the case, but any person having at least an average knowledge of computers and Internet will start the day checking e-mail. And, of course, this makes it the most targeted source for spam and virus transmission.
As wi-fi hotspots become more available, they are becoming a hotbed for hackers to get into your bank accounts, e-mails, and social networking accounts.
Gmail focused on the security of their webmail in 2008 by allowing the option to use the https protocol, which encrypts your mail as it travels between sender and recipient. Using https helps protect data from being seen by third parties, such as in public wi-fi hotspots, but until now it was an opt-in preference because there's a downside: https can make your mail slower.
But last night the Gmail team announced that they will turn https on as the default for everyone which is, I think, the right thing to do. They just reversed the process: rather than choosing secure mail, you can choose not to have it. It's a small, almost unnoticeable change which will have a big impact in everyone's daily e-mail habits.
If you've previously set your own https preference in your Gmail settings, nothing will change for your account. If you trust the security of your network and don't want default https turned on for performance reasons, you can disable it at any time by choosing "don't always use https" from the settings menu.
Gmail will still encrypt the login page to protect your password, as always. Google Apps users, whose admins have not already defaulted their entire domains to https, will have the same option.
Unless there are negative effects on the user experience or it's otherwise impractical, hopefully other companies begin to provide https by default for all set of service like social networking and data transferring.
What do you think about this positive step by Google? Should Facebook and Twitter and other companies should follow in their footsteps? Let us know in the comments.