57245.JPG Closeup of Chain with Lock Steve Cole

Google revealed this past June that it was working on a way for users to easily encrypt their emails, but it turns out it's not alone in its ambitions. Alex Stamos, Yahoo's Chief Information Security Officer, said at the Black Hat conference in Las Vegas that the company wants to offer end-to-end encryption for Yahoo mail come 2015. What's more, that PGP-based security system should interact seamlessly with Google's -- should they choose to, people from both sides of the Google-Yahoo divide will be able to send each other secure messages that are totally unintelligible to curious (or malicious) outsiders.

So there we have it, two major forces on the web working to make sure what we say in private isn't subject to prying eyes. The thing to remember is that the actual meat of your messages is secure, but the metadata -- who it's coming from, who it's being sent to, what's in the subject line -- is still fair game. Yahoo's plan involves modifying the End-to-End web plugin that Google introduced earlier this summer, but this whole shebang hinges on making the process of swapping secure messages easy. We'll have to see just how elegant Yahoo's solution winds up being; the prolonged privacy of millions of users may soon depend on it.