Google Creates Extension for PGP Encryption in Webmail


New tool could raise the bar for privacy in webmail systems like Gmail and Hotmail.

Google has released a extension for the Chrome browser that simplifies email encryption for webmail users. The End-to-End extension is designed to let Gmail users implement email encryption through the Pretty Good Privacy (PGP) program.
The standard webmail system handles user interaction through a browser-based HTTP session. However, an email message is sent through a chain of mail servers on its way to the destination address. Google estimates that only half of the email that passes through Gmail to other providers is actually encrypted all the way from the starting server to the destination. The new End-to-End extension will ensure that the message will be encrypted as it passes through the chain of mail servers.
The End-to-End extension is currently in an alpha pre-release version. The source code is available for security experts and testers to experiment. As Google developer Stephan Somogyi explains in a blog entry, Google wants to receive comments and improvements from the community before releasing a final version that will then be available in the Chrome web store.


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