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Google To Replace Iconic 'lock' Icon In Chrome, New Symbol Will Not Imply 'trustworthy'

The new icon will be more clickable and will not imply ‘trustworthy’, Google says.

| Written By
Simran Singh

Image Credit: Shutterstock

The tech giant, Google, has announced that it will soon replace the lock icon that appears in the address bar beside the website URL with a variant of the tune icon, which is commonly associated with settings or other controls. The existing symbol has long represented the user's safety and security while using a website. Google, however, claims this is no longer the case. The new icon will be more clickable and will not imply ‘trustworthy’, Google says.

Since the early versions of Netscape in the 1990s, when a site loads over HTTPS, browsers have displayed a lock icon. According to the tech giant, HTTPS is now the norm rather than the exception. As a result, Chrome will evolve in line with this.

"The lock icon is meant to indicate that the network connection is a secure channel between the browser and site and that the network connection cannot be tampered with or eavesdropped on by third parties, but it’s a remnant of an era where HTTPS was uncommon. Despite our best efforts, our research in 2021 showed that only 11% of study participants correctly understood the precise meaning of the lock icon," Google said in its blog.

Why is the lock icon being replaced?

The lock icon was initially developed to show that a website was employing HTTPS encryption to encrypt connections. As a result, the connection between the user's browser and the website is secure and cannot be eavesdropped on or tampered with. In its blog post, Google clarified that the lock sign no longer serves as a reliable indicator of a website's trustworthiness because the majority of websites today, including phishing websites, use the HTTPS protocol. Google, therefore, plans to replace it with a new "tune" icon that is more security-neutral in its appearance to ensure users understand that the websites they visit may not be trustworthy.