Google is getting ready to switch out the Chrome browser’s padlock icon for a new symbol in the address bar, the company announced in a blog post on Tuesday. The lock will be replaced this fall with a “neutral indicator” designed to urge users to verify a website’s security information. Users will see the new icon in September with the launch of Chrome 117.
Back in the 2010s, the lock icon indicated better protections associated with HTTPS websites, then slowly being adopted, compared with plain HTTP sites. The clickable symbol provides information on a website’s permission settings, cookies and whether the site has a secure connection. But now HTTPS is commonplace, even for malicious sites, Google said, so you shouldn’t misread the icon as indicating that a site is actually trustworthy.
To replace it, the team behind Chrome is working on a version of tune icon (pictured below) that encourages people to click and check for vital privacy and security information. Google says the user-friendly image is better because it does not indicate “trustworthy” and because it is “more obviously clickable” and “commonly associated with settings or other controls.”
Desktop and Android users will see the replacement symbol roll out at the same time this fall, but the lock will be completely removed from iOS because it can’t be tapped. Chrome will keep providing alerts for unsecured connections.