If you're paranoid about snoops discovering your web search terms and results, you'll have to start pointing your browser to another URL to use Google encrypted search. The search giant announced in a blog post on June 25 that its encrypted search service moved from https://google.com to https://encrypted.google.com.
The encrypted search, which gives a user the option to use SSL to prevent packet sniffing, was moved to accommodate "better serve our school partners and their users," Dave Girouard, president of Google Enterprise says in the blog post.
Previously, school administrators, or anyone else, for that matter, who wanted to block encrypted searches at https://google.com would also block Google authenticated services such as Google Apps for Education.
Why would schools want to block encrypted searches? Using the service "creates an obscured channel between a user's computer and Google," which allows students to bypass a school's content filter, Girouard said. That makes it harder to block adult content, a policy of many schools.
Google's change should make it easier for school IT staff to comply with the Children's Internet Protection Act, which requires schools to implement measures to address minors accessing "inappropriate matter," among other things.