Update: The Google has changed their encrypted search page to encrypted.google.com. The https:// will redirect you to the new URL, but you might as well just use the new one.
Update #2: This is now even easier with Chrome. You just need to install the Chrome extension offered by Google! Google SSL will then show up as a search engine option. No need to manually add it. However, it requires Chrome v6.419.0 or greater.
Google has just made it possible for you to perform encrypted searches using https:\\www.google.com! Now if you're connected to a public WiFi you don't need to worry about some nosy individual sniffing your Google searches. You just need to add the S to the http. If you're using the Google Chrome browser (of course, you are, right?) you can set your searches to default to the new https site by creating a new search engine option.
I created a search option called "Google HTTPS" and made it my default. All you have to do is go to:
Wrench > Options > Manage (in the Default Search section) > Add
You can create a new option identical to mine (above). You will need to add this Google search URL:
It's a standard Google search results URL with the "%s" tacked on at the end. The additional characters are required by Chrome (as you can see in the Edit Search Engine dialog). Once you have your new option created you can mark it as default and any searches you do through the Chrome address bar will default to HTTPS! Yay!
Note: While this does hide your searches from your ISP, it does not hide them from Google and your Internet history will still record them all. The point is privacy on an unsecured WiFi connection. What are you searching for that's so embarrassing you don't even want Google to know?
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