encryption_1According to the Wall Street Journal, Google exec Matt Cutts suggested at a recent conference that the company is considering an algorithmic boost for websites that encrypt data.

Cutts’s public statements are significant to Web developers because they foreshadow changes to the all-important Google search algorithm, although the story also suggests that Google will not be making changes in favor of encryption anytime soon.

Cutts’s proposal comes after tech companies like Google and Yahoo have moved to encrypt more data in response to controversy over NSA spying revelations.

Encryption makes it significantly more difficult for outside parties to “listen in” as data travels between company servers and user computers, but—as shown by the recent Heartbleed bug—it’s not perfect.

Any decision by Google to emphasize encryption would have massive effects because so many develops build websites in accordance with Google’s recommended practices.