Google posts a blog explaining why it’s replacing Chrome’s HTTPS lock with a tune icon

Previously, Google was adding icons to the menu in the Chrome Canary version. In addition to menu icons, Google has also replaced the HTTPS lock symbol in the address bar with a tune icon, superseding the gray lock.

The rationale behind this alteration is that Google perceives the HTTPS lock symbol as a relic of the past, similar to the long-gone days when a browser would specifically notify users that a website had enabled encrypted communication via HTTPS.

Addressing this historical remnant, Google published a blog explaining why they decided to replace the Chrome HTTPS lock with a tune icon. The issue is that almost all websites now utilize HTTPS-encrypted connections, including phishing sites. Tests reveal that the majority of users are unaware that clicking on the lock symbol in the address bar can display more controls to view information. Even the FBI issued a warning that the presence of a lock symbol in the address bar does not guarantee a website’s safety, as phishing and scam sites also employ encrypted connections.

This change echoes Google’s previous addition of the word “secure” to the HTTPS lock, a measure taken to increase HTTPS usage rates and favor encrypted websites by displaying the word “secure” in the address bar.

However, this approach evidently made it easier for people to trust phishing sites, resulting in the removal of the “secure” text, leaving only the gray lock. Google now believes the gray lock is outdated and should be eliminated altogether.

The newly adopted tune icon implies access to more information; users can click on it to view connection details, cookies, and permission settings for a website. Additionally, the tune icon does not lead novice users to believe that the site is secure.

These new icons will be introduced in Chrome 117, scheduled for release in September 2023. Users of the Chrome Canary version can enable them ahead of time.