Yesterday, on their official security blog, Google announced that they are working on a Chrome extension that will make e-mail encryption a lot easier to use. Hooray.
This extension is still in close beta, but they posted the source code for anybody to inspect here.
The technology behind Google’s extension
Google will make this extension that will have end-to-end encryption based on the OpenPGP protocol.
For who is not familiar, this encryption exists for quite some time using the PGP (Pretty Good Privacy) and GnuPGP protocols.
In the past, to be able to encrypt an e-mail, you would have to use software that had two keys, a public one and a private one. You would encrypt and sign the e-mail using your private key and then send it to a friend.
He would have to have your public key previously to this and then using the software, he could decrypt and read the e-mail.
As you can see, this was not an easy process, so Google intends to make it much easier. Possibly as easy as pushing 1 button.
By doing that, Google will make e-mail encryption accessible to those that are not that technology savvy.
When are where?
At the moment, it’s not clear when this extension will be launched, or if it will only work with GMail (which is Google’s own free e-mail service), or it will work with other services like Yahoo Mail for example.
When it will be launched, the extension will be called End-To-End and it will be available on the Chrome Web Store.
Personally, I think this is something that should have been made available a long time ago, so I am glad that somebody at Google is taking this in to their own hands and decided to release it.
This, of course, is one of the things that follow the leak of information that Edward Snowden released.