Google launches root certificate authority

Cutting out the middle man

Google has launched its own root certificate authority.

The move, announced Thursday, will stop Google relying on an intermediate certificate authority (GIAG2) issued by a third party in its ongoing process of rolling out HTTPS across its products and services.

"As we look forward to the evolution of both the web and our own products it is clear HTTPS will continue to be a foundational technology," Google explained in a blog post. "This is why we have made the decision to expand our current Certificate Authority efforts to include the operation of our own Root Certificate Authority."

The newly established Google Trust Services will operate these Certificate Authorities on behalf of Google and parent company Alphabet.

Google's techies warn that the process of embedding root certificates into products that go on to be broadly deployed will take time. To hasten the process, Google has purchased two existing root certificate authorities, GlobalSign R2 and R4. "These Root Certificates will enable us to begin independent certificate issuance sooner rather than later," according to Google. "We intend to continue the operation of our existing GIAG2 subordinate Certificate Authority. This change will enable us to begin the process of migrating to our new, independent infrastructure."

As well as operating root certificates, Google has secured the option to cross-sign its CAs, in order to ease potential rollout snags. Google advises third-party developers working on code designed to connect to a Google property to include a wide set of trustworthy roots including but not limited to those offered through Google Trust Services. ®

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