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Google has announced that it will begin blocking web pages with mixed content in its Chrome web browser starting December of this year. Considering that Chrome is used by more than half of all internet users, this could be a major issue that you may not even know is lurking on your site.

What is Mixed Content?

Mixed content refers to when secure webpages using the HTTPS security protocol include scripts, styles, images, or other content that is delivered through the less secure HTTP protocol.

Even linking to sites still using HTTP can be seen as delivering mixed content on your site.

As Google explains:

“Mixed content degrades the security and user experience of your HTTPS site …Using these resources, an attacker can often take complete control over the page, not just the compromised resource.”

How Google Chrome Will Handle Mixed Content

When the next update for Chrome is released in December, Google will begin doing one of two things when it encounters sites with mixed content:

  1. If an HTTPS version of that resource exists, Google will automatically upgrade that content to the newer secure version.
  2. When no such resource exists, Google will soft block the page. This will include a warning about the security risks of mixed content and an option to access the page despite the risk.

The warning screen may not deter all of your potential customers, but it can disrupt a significant chunk of your traffic, leads, and sales.

Beginning in January of 2020, Google will start taking an even stronger stance by removing the unblock option and completely blocking webpages with insecure content.

How To Check Your Site for Mixed Content

Depending on the size of your site and what platform it is built on, there are a number of free and paid options for scanning your site for mixed content.

JitBit SSL Checker

JitBit SSL Checker is a free online tool that can review up to 400 pages of your site for mixed content.

WordPress Tools

If your site is built on WordPress, you can use the Really Simple SSL Plugin to migrate your content to SSL while also checking for and fixing mixed content.

For those who have already migrated their site to SSL, there is also the SSL Insecure Content Fixer WordPress Plugin. This can scan your site for insecure resources while providing suggestions for fixing these problems.

Tools for Large Sites

Websites with a large number of pages will likely have to use paid tools to check their site. One option is Screaming Frog, which can crawl massive sites and provide insights to a wide variety of issues. One drawback, however, is that while it can pinpoint potential problems on your site, it can not directly assist you in fixing them.

Vides that automatically start playing with the sound cranked all the way up have long been the scourge of the internet. They’ve interrupted our listening to music, quiet browsing in public places, and they’ve even interrupted videos we actually want to watch!

This is why Google’s web browser, Chrome, is fighting back. The latest version for desktop devices will automatically disable the majority of videos from playing with sound automatically.

The only exception to Chrome’s new feature is videos that Google has reason to believe you are interested in. Specifically, this includes:

  • Videos you have played before
  • When you have clicked the screen at some point in your browsing session
  • Videos appearing on a site you have added to your home screen on mobile

It is notable that Google is not entirely blocking the videos that are designed to autoplay. Instead, it essentially pauses them until they are triggered manually.

Also, videos that autoplay without sound are still completely and totally okay with Google. They will continue to automatically begin playing, and may still be a viable advertising method if you include captions.

Do you have a search box or form on your website? Are you still using HTTP for your site? If so, you may want to begin the process of switching to HTTPS sooner rather than later.

Google says it is preparing to launch new efforts within their Chrome browser to encourage webmasters to migrate to HTTPS, the newer, more secure security certificate for websites. Beginning I October, the browser will begin showing warning messages to visitors on pages with search boxes or forms.

As Google says, “[in] October 2017, Chrome will show the ‘Not secure’ warning in two additional situations: when users enter data on an HTTP page, and on all HTTP pages visited in Incognito mode.”

You can preview what the warning will look like in the gif below:

 

The warnings are just the latest effort by Google to encourage the adoption of HTTPS. Just recently, Chrome warned webmasters that pages with logins are now required to use HTTPS.

The end goal for Google is to mark any web page using HTTP as insecure, but it could be a lengthy process.

April Fools’ Day is here yet again, and if you’re reading this chances are you have already encountered at least one of Google’s numerous practical jokes. The company has always been big on the prankster’s holiday, but they have taken it to a whole new level this year, unleashing gag services and webpages and nearly ever platform they have. I’m recapping all the goofs and gags so you can be sure you won’t miss out on any of the fun.

Google Thinks Backwards

Have you been to google.com today? What about com.google? That’s right, Google released a mirror-image version of their site that flips everything on the search engine. Unfortunately it only works for search, not any of Google’s other platforms and domains.

Pac-Man Comes to Town

Google Maps has brought the classic arcade game to your doorstep, by allowing you to play the game using your local streets as the maze. From desktop, you can play Pac-Man anywhere on the map you want. Mobile users however, are only able to play in a few select places. To get in on the action, you’ll have to use the clues to find the special locations.

Ingress Plays Pac-Man Too

While the Pac-Man mode in Google Maps has quickly gained attention, fewer have noted that Google’s augmented reality game, Ingress for Android and iOS, has also added some new Pac-Man features.

#ChromeSelfie

Everyone is already sharing their reactions to news and events across social media, but Chrome on mobile is making it easier than ever to let people know how you feel about what you are browsing. Whether you are excited, angry, sad, or outright confused by the latest story, you can quickly share it by opening the menu on the browser and choosing “Share a reaction.”

Screen-Shot-2015-03-30-at-12.23.29-PM

According to Google, Chrome users are losing up to 6 hours of selfie-taking time every day by having to exit the browser to open the camera app. Thankfully, they’ve streamlined the process so we can finally take selfies with optimal efficiency.

Google Panda

This one might sting for webmasters who have had unpleasant run-ins with Google’s not-so cuddly algorithm. Google Japan announced Google Panda 5 and 6, with a press conference parodying Apple’s over-the-top product releases.

Unlike previous Panda releases, this one is less of an algorithm and more Siri in a stuffed-animal panda. The product itself doesn’t seem to be directly related to the algorithm, but Matt Cutts helped out on the video so it’s safe to say it is a part of the joke.

Smartbox by Inbox

Google has revolutionized email with Gmail, and now they are reshaping how we think about our traditional mail too. Smartbox by Inbox may look like a stylish mailbox, but it has smart folders, filters, and even apps that you can bring with you anywhere you go.

Dial-Up Mode

Google Fiber users are apparently complaining their internet speeds are just too fast, leaving them with no time to take breaks, fix drinks, or take care of other small tasks. To solve this, the service provider is launching a dial-up mode.

“Loading bars used to give people an opportunity to pause and take care of the little things—like making a cup of coffee, taking a bathroom break or playing with the dog.”

The company explains it was able to reduce Fiber speeds up to 376 times “by withholding photons from the fiber strands” so that “the light-based fiber optic technology dims to a flicker of its previous capacity.”

Chromebook Self-browsing

Don’t you wish you could just put your internet browser on auto-pilot and let it take you to your destination?

chromeb00k_self-browsing

“Google’s top research scientists have calculated that the average person burns up to five calories per day by clicking on web links,” Google says. “This is absurd—these calories could be put to much better use for breathing, pranking a co-worker, or cleaning your bathtub.”

The new Chromebook self-browsing extension is already available from the Chrome Web Store.

Google Actual Cloud Platform

Quick question: where is “the cloud” you constantly hear Google and Apple talking about? If you said clouds in the sky you would have been wrong, until now.

Google is moving the cloud to the “actual cloud” with a slew of new features including a new compute zone, actual-cloud machine types, Stormboost, CloudDrops, weather dashboards, and bare-metal container support.

YouTube’s Add Music Feature

darude

YouTube now allows users to add music to any video they wish. Specifically, the video player now includes a button allowing you to override the sound on any video with Darude’s Sandstorm. There’s also an Auto-Darude option so you can easily apply the song to every video you watch. The history of Darude’s Sandstorm is long and relatively obscure, so if this one doesn’t make sense you can learn more here.

Matt Cutts’ Auto-SEO Tool

Matt Cutts got in not one, but two jokes at the expense of SEO professionals this year, which shows he is certainly putting his time on leave from Google to good use. The former head of search spam announced a new tool last night named AutoSEO, available at http://seo.ninja.

AutoSEO

AutoSEO claims to automate all your SEO efforts with an open source free platform, with a beta invite being sent out today. Of course, the joke is the tool doesn’t actually do anything.

Last week, Matt Cutts responded to a question he receives fairly regularly concerning the PageRank feature in the Google toolbar. Specifically, why haven’t they removed it? It is apparent that many believe that the PageRank feature is “widely used by link sellers as a link grading system.”

There is, of course, some truth to this. While spammers do take advantage of the PageRank system, Cutts says that it is still relevant to many others. “There are a lot of SEO’s and people in search who look at the PageRank toolbar, but there are a ton of regular users as well.” Apparently, many internet users see the PageRank feature as indicative of reputability  and Google doesn’t plan on forcing them to stop.

That doesn’t mean PageRank is here to stay forever. While Google plans to keep supporting it so long as it is relevant to their users, it is telling that Chrome does not have the PageRank feature built into Chrome. Now, IE 10 is disavowing add ons, meaning Google’s toolbar will no longer work with the browser.

Considering that Internet Explorer was the only browser supporting the Google toolbar, it is highly likely the PageRank feature, as well as the toolbar as a whole, will fade away before long. As Matt Cutts puts it, “the writing is on the wall” that the new iteration of IE could be the end of PageRank, but we will have to wait and see.

Today a court order goes into effect to force Microsoft to allow Windows users a choice in internet browsers.  Previously, Microsoft’s Internet Explorer was the default browser installation on Windows.  As of today, that decision is no longer enforced, and users will have a choice to make that many were previously unaware they even had.

One possibility of this outcome is that Google Chrome may now see some increase in use.  Google is doing a heavier push in the mainstream media, so everyday internet users will see the option to install Chrome.  If a lot of them choose this, this will increase Google’s hold over the search engine market, and this will also effect many SEOs in their approach to optimization.

It appears the battle between Google and Microsoft (who’s joined forces with Yahoo) may have only now just begun.  To check out more details on this story, see this article by HighPosition.net.