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Safe Search and its effect on Google Apps and Google Search

This article addresses the Web search filtering feature available on the Cisco Meraki security appliance and how this feature could affect other Google applications.

Web Search Filtering

Cisco Meraki security appliances have the option to force all web searches to use safe search.  This feature can be enabled on the Configure > Content filtering page in Dashboard.  Once enabled, safe search is accomplished by rewriting every search URL to turn on filtering.  For Google searches, our rewrite follows the method outlined on their page on SafeSearch Lock.


Because safe search enforcement relies on modifying the HTTP transmission, this feature does not work on encrypted web content (SSL/HTTPS). This impacts search engines that force queries to use HTTPS, including Google. To ensure users cannot circumvent safe search enforcement with this caveat, the Cisco Meraki MX with Advanced Security also offers the option to block encrypted searches. This option (shown in the above figure) will become available once Web search filtering is enabled.

Block Encrypted

The block encrypted search option works by blocking HTTPS connections using the google.com certificate. This means that all Google applications that utilize that cert will also be affected. Google mail will work while this option is enabled, but unfortunately other Google apps, such as Google Drive, will also be blocked.

Additional Resources

Information on this feature and other content filtering options can be found in our documentation.

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