For those of you that use Gmail as your primary email address, you can now set the web based email service provider to encrypt your communications as a default. While this will make it harder for third parties to snoop your email, it could also make email delivery slower too.
"Your computer has to do extra work to decrypt all that data, and encrypted data doesn't travel across the Internet as efficiently as unencrypted data," Gmail engineer Ariel Rideout said in a blog post. This is why they have left the choice up to the user.
The encryption is possible through HTTPS - Hypertext Transfer Protocol over Secure Socket Layer -, a secure version of the HTTP protocol that allows us to click on links, view pages, request information from servers and generally makes the web possible. The encryption is only between the browser and Gmail servers which is unlike other encryption software that encrypts email all the way from source to destination.
To encrypt your email, simply log in to your Gmail account and go to your account settings. You will find a section labeled Browser connection: where you will see two radio buttons. Select the option labeled Always us https to set as your default.