Google, one of the largest technology companies in the world, has recently announced that it will soon replace the lock icon that currently appears next to website URLs in the address bar with a new version of the tune icon.
For years, the lock symbol has been a familiar sign of user safety and security while browsing websites.
However, Google believes that the current icon no longer carries the same weight, and the new icon will be more interactive and less suggestive of trustworthiness.
Here are the reasons behind the decision to replace the lock icon and examine the functionality of the new tune icon.
The Lock Icon and its Significance
For many years, when a website has loaded over HTTPS, browsers have displayed a lock icon.
This icon is a visual cue that the connection between the user's browser and the website is secure and cannot be intercepted or monitored by outside parties.
Initially, the lock icon was created to signify that a website was using HTTPS encryption to secure connections and protect the user's data.
Why the Lock Icon is Being Replaced
Google has stated that the lock icon is no longer a reliable indicator of a website's trustworthiness.
Nowadays, most websites, including fraudulent ones, use the HTTPS protocol, which renders the lock icon useless.
In 2021, Google conducted research that revealed only 11% of participants understood the precise meaning of the lock icon.
As a result, the company has opted to replace it with a new "tune" icon that appears more security-neutral.
The New Tune Icon
In the Chrome browser, the forthcoming tune icon that will replace the lock symbol is designed to be more interactive and less suggestive of trustworthiness than its predecessor.
Google notes that HTTPS is now the standard rather than the exception, and the new icon is better suited for the current landscape.
The tune icon is typically linked with settings or other controls, and it will assist users in realising that the websites they visit may not be reliable.
The new icon is anticipated to be launched soon and will be integrated into the latest Chrome update.