Last month, Google shook up the hosted online content creator world with news that their search rankings will start to reflect HTTPS security. That’s big news. Google wants a secure web, and to get us all there — kicking and screaming, if need be — they will reward those who leap on the SSL bandwagon with higher visibility.

For these reasons, over the past few months we’ve been running tests taking into account whether sites use secure, encrypted connections as a signal in our search ranking algorithms. We’ve seen positive results, so we’re starting to use HTTPS as a ranking signal. For now it’s only a very lightweight signal — affecting fewer than 1% of global queries, and carrying less weight than other signals such as high-quality content — while we give webmasters time to switch to HTTPS. But over time, we may decide to strengthen it, because we’d like to encourage all website owners to switch from HTTP to HTTPS to keep everyone safe on the web.

Yes, I paid $50 to get access to the alpha test with “boles” as my username and yes, I’m an Old White Guy who had money burning in his pocket to make him feel special.  I was finally granted access to the site this morning and, after a password reset or two, I was able to get into and poke around a bit — and let me tell you right now — it’s one lonesome place… and that’s the excitement of it all!