Google Chrome 81 is providing users with a security feature that blocks websites in the event that they fail to load mixed content over secure HTTPS protocol. Recently, the Chrome team updated the beta channel to 81.0.4044.83 for Windows, Mac, and, Linux.
Chrome browser to auto-upgrade Mixed content to HTTPS
Google Chrome explains that it will automatically upgrade old media assets including photos and videos that are coded in HTTP and rewrite the URLs to HTTPS without a fallback. The difference between HTTP and HTTPS is that the latter is more secure.
Here’s what the company has to say:
“This [Autoupgrade Image Mixed Content] feature will autoupgrade optionally-blockable mixed content (HTTP content in HTTPS sites) by rewriting the URL to HTTPS, without a fallback to HTTP if the content is not available over HTTPS.”
What does it mean? How it impacts users?
Before we go any further, we need to understand some basics. For example, what is mixed content, you ask? As Google explains, mixed content is the combination of secure and non-secure resources found on a web page.
Let’s say a website that you want to access loads over a secure HTTPS protocol. However, additional resources like images, videos, stylesheets, scripts, among others load over an insecure HTTP connection.
Well, it could be a risk to your online safety and privacy, and that’s exactly what Chrome 81 wants to address.
Google Chrome 80 initially started upgrading mixed audio/video content to HTTPS. Now, Google Chrome 81 is extending the support to mixed image content.
This could potentially break web pages
Automatically upgrading and rewriting all HTTP content URLs over HTTPS might affect the way Google Chrome loads web pages. One thing is for sure. Google wants to get rid of the mixed content shield in the future.
Google is confident that this would lead to the mixed content being either upgraded or blocked by the Chrome browser. The content will be blocked only in the event of a fallback.
However, Google acknowledges it increases the chances for breakage of web pages due to content not available over HTTPS.
This may not be bad news for web publishers per se. Eliminating the need for security warnings means a good thing for the website’s credibility and SEO ranking. It will allow website publishers to offer 100% secure content while helping them load the website faster (in case of a fallback).