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Google Web Accelerator 798

Lukey Boy writes "Google has released a free web accelerator product for both Firefox and Internet Explorer. According to their information page the software uses Google servers as a proxy for web content, delivering the pages to your system more rapidly and compressing them beforehand."
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Google Web Accelerator

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  • by coupland ( 160334 ) * <dchase@@@hotmail...com> on Wednesday May 04, 2005 @07:15PM (#12436564) Journal

    I'm using it now and couldn't be happier! It's already saved me over 10 seconds, and there's no catch!

    Find Google results for "catch" [google.ca]
    Sign up for free webmail at http://gmail.google.com/ [google.com]
    Resistance is fut... er... Try Google, we're not evil!

    • by MrAnnoyanceToYou ( 654053 ) <dylan.dylanbrams@com> on Wednesday May 04, 2005 @07:17PM (#12436589) Homepage Journal
      Holy Cow! Google got slashdotted!
    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 04, 2005 @07:20PM (#12436630)
      How far does Jon von Tetzchner have to frick'n swim before Google starts supporting Opera?
    • Re:I keed! I keed! (Score:4, Informative)

      by plutonium83 ( 818340 ) on Wednesday May 04, 2005 @09:18PM (#12437515)
      ".. and there's no catch!"

      Unfortunately, the catch is google now knows your surfing habits, and their's no privacy policy.
      • by AyeRoxor! ( 471669 ) on Wednesday May 04, 2005 @10:51PM (#12438056) Journal
        and their's no privacy policy

        their's no gramur eyethur

      • Re:I keed! I keed! (Score:5, Informative)

        by bmrh ( 195526 ) on Thursday May 05, 2005 @12:24AM (#12438556)
        No privacy policy?

        I clicked on the "Pricay Policy" link and saw this:
        http://www.google.com/privacy.html [google.com]

        • No catch!? (Score:5, Funny)

          by Syre ( 234917 ) on Thursday May 05, 2005 @01:30AM (#12438815)
          Everything Google does lately is designed to
          monitor your surfing habits and email^h^h^h^h^h^h^h^h^h^h^h^h^h^h^h^h^h^h^h
          make your life easier!
          • Re:No catch!? (Score:4, Informative)

            by Syre ( 234917 ) on Thursday May 05, 2005 @01:52AM (#12438897)
            But seriously, I just looked through all of Google's privacy policies dealing with this Web Accelerator, including the Google Web Accelerator Privacy Policy [google.com] and the Google Privacy Policy [google.com] and there are problems with them.

            They say:

            Google collects limited non-personally identifying information your browser makes available whenever you visit a website. This log information includes your Internet Protocol address, browser type, browser language, the date and time of your query and one or more cookies that may uniquely identify your browser.
            The problem is that this information, when correlated with information from web sites you're using such as user names, passwords, etc. (all of which would be routed through their proxy and caches except for https information which goes through the proxy but not the caches), can tell them, or anyone else who has access, exactly who you are, where you surf and what you do.

            Their privacy policies completely fail to address this issue.

            • by Shaper_pmp ( 825142 ) on Thursday May 05, 2005 @05:20AM (#12439507)
              Much as I hate to come off as a member of the tinfoil hat brigade, Google is making me increasingly uneasy with the way they present and implement a lot of their offerings...

              So far at least, Google has arguably successfully Done No Evil - they've offered a great search site, extended their great search system to the desktop, embedded it into browsers for convenience, offered webmail with unprecedented storage space and lovely features, and even revitalised the online advertising industry away from obnoxious graphical banners and popups towards relevant, discrete and unobtrusive text ads.

              However, against this background of saintly behaviour, the potential for great evil lurks. Take the Google Search cookie not expiring until 2038 - there is no reason whatsoever for this, apart from to make it easy to track your searching habits. Of course, they could just do this by aggregating all queries that hit their servers, but that wouldn't uniquely identify you down to your specific machine, would it?

              Take GMail - it's a lovely idea, and a lovely system, but it does mean that (theoretically), Google now has unfettered access to your entire inbox, and all the personal information therein. They also make a big deal of how you "never have to delete anything ever again" - handy for users maybe, but definitely handy if you're interested in data-mining vast volumes of personal information.

              Google Desktop Search is a lovely tool (and very handy), but it does have an annoying (and downplayed) habit (IIRC) of by default echoing any local searches you make to Google, so it can return lists of "web" and "desktop" matches. Not such a big deal, unless you're searching your local machine for, oh, I dunno... company credit card details? Passwords? Rarely-used logins? Where you left the downloaded "Hot XXX teen sluts.mpeg"? Etc. Etc. Etc.

              Now look at the Google Web Accelerator - not only your searches, but now every single page you visit (and even some you don't - are these differentiated between?) passes through Google's systems. Fair play to them for excluding HTTPS requests, but in all fairness they couldn't ever have got away with caching those as well anyway.

              At this point, (assuming you use Google and don't take regular tinfoil-hat precautions like clearing cookies/deleting old mail/never searching your local machine for anything private/etc), Google potentially has access to:
              • Your e-mail, including headers, full text and all your contacts.
              • The text of every search you ever made, both on the web and on your local machine.
              • The address and full text of every web page you ever visit.


              I have to stress here that I severely doubt there's any kind of deliberate conspiracy going on. For my money this is just a case of a bunch of overenthusiastic geeks with access to a huge database to mine, who are too busy having fun to write privacy policies because "we'd never do anything bad anyway, and people know that".

              However, this still doesn't mean that it's a good thing - power corrupts, and Google now has one hell of a lot of power. Even if Larry, Serge et al stay true to their vision, Google's a public company now - it only takes the board to fire L&S and replace them with a marketing puppet and all of a sudden your trust in Google isn't worth shit - they hold all the cards, and they've got your entire life written on them.

              In addition, this getting carried away with where they're going, and not listening to user-opinion is exactly the kind of attitude that is most publicly (and damagingly) exhibited by Microsoft. It's a small step from not taking five minutes to assuage people's concerns to not taking five seconds to even consider them. Both attitudes exhibit a certain "I know better than you" arrogance, one which tends to only get worse with time, and the more people start complaining about it, the worse it tends to get.

              As I said, I severely doubt Google

  • Smart. Scary. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by lecithin ( 745575 ) on Wednesday May 04, 2005 @07:16PM (#12436566)

    First, they collect your search information. Next they collected your email. Now they collect your destination. You put it all together, that is quite a bit of information.

    What is next?

    Very Smart..Very Scary...

    Tinfoil, Post!
    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 04, 2005 @07:18PM (#12436602)
      Next they modify the data you receive to influence your opinion.
    • Re:Smart. Scary. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by soupdevil ( 587476 ) on Wednesday May 04, 2005 @07:21PM (#12436645)
      What's next? Hopefully a calender. I'd love a free online replacement for Outlook.
    • Exactly. (Score:3, Insightful)

      by CarpetShark ( 865376 )
      Google offering to proxy the web for everyone cannot make sense unless they're planning to make a lot of money from your personal browsing records. In all honesty, and without wanting to sound like a troll, I think "Don't be evil" just died.
      • Re:Exactly. (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Johnboi Waltune ( 462501 ) on Wednesday May 04, 2005 @07:55PM (#12436947)
        Google has spent years maintaining the highest ethical standards... I don't think they would piss away their credibility for profit, especially since they aren't hurting for cash in the first place.

        I'm prepared to give them the benefit of the doubt. There are lots of cool things they could do with the information, used in aggregate. They could recommend websites to you by correlating your browsing history with others, kind of the same way Amazon.com recommends products. I for one think that would be cool.
        • Re:Exactly. (Score:3, Interesting)

          Epic 2014 [broom.org] is starting to happen with them aggregating information about browsing. It's almost scary. Check the website linked for a view into the future of what Google (and Amazon) may be doing do next. It's all speculation but sounds very interesting.
        • Re:Exactly. (Score:5, Funny)

          by ottothecow ( 600101 ) on Wednesday May 04, 2005 @08:24PM (#12437183) Homepage
          Until they start trying to combine browsing habits into one.

          "Based on your recent browsing habits, Google would like to suggest MidgetsHavingSexWithFerretsInSpace.com"

          All I wanted was a smaller computer, a pet toy, and some homework help....GOOOOOOOGLEEEEEEEEEe

        • Re:Exactly. (Score:4, Interesting)

          by NetSettler ( 460623 ) <kent-slashdot@nhplace.com> on Wednesday May 04, 2005 @09:49PM (#12437692) Homepage Journal

          Google has spent years maintaining the highest ethical standards... I don't think they would piss away their credibility for profit, especially since they aren't hurting for cash in the first place.

          Of course, it's not always "now" that these problems occur. One reason that one maintains strict ethical breaks between various organizations is not to protect them when they're strong, but on the assumption that one is not always strong every day.

          I heard a few years back that Reader's Digest was not doing economically well and that their biggest asset turned out to be a repository of the reading habits of a huge part of the US population. Even if they were not inclined to sell out, they were still candidate for takeover by another company buying them just for this data and not for their editorial work or revenue stream. I didn't end up following the news, so I don't know how it turned out, or even that this account I'd heard was correct. (Maybe someone else knows better can offer more info here.) But even if you take it only as a hypothetical, it seems pretty plausible that such things could happen.

          Big companies have sometimes fallen. And one would like to believe we haven't entered a political climate where that will never happen again, even if one doesn't have a deathwish for any particular big company. So what if Google gets all this stuff and then gets either nervous or outright cheap... If their size and economic power is what protects us now, what protects us then?

        • Re:Exactly. (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Mad_Rain ( 674268 ) on Wednesday May 04, 2005 @10:02PM (#12437760) Journal
          Google has spent years maintaining the highest ethical standards...

          Which makes me wonder:

          ...My company's firewall filters some objectionable content

          ...My company's firewall does not filter Google

          ...would I (or others) be able to surf for objectionable content through Google and bypass the company firewall this way?

      • Re:Exactly. (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Sancho ( 17056 )
        Can you honestly not think of one single non-evil reason for offering a free web proxy? How about filling in the missing gaps? Those webpages that are not linked and thus generally unsearchable?
        • correct (Score:5, Interesting)

          by adpowers ( 153922 ) on Wednesday May 04, 2005 @08:05PM (#12437018)
          Exactly. Now they can find pages that are rarely linked, yet may be valuable. I wonder if this also might allow them to search the 'deep web'. Imagine a user with this browsing an online chemistry database where the only way to find info is by filling out some text fields on a website. Now Google will be able to find this deep websites by having users due all the grunt work.

          Also, they might use info about popular pages and browsing habits to improve search results (like I'm sure they are doing now with the Search History feature).


          PS: As soon as I saw this on GoogleBlog I realized the 'privacy' freaks were going to flip. If you don't like it, don't use it.
          • Re:correct (Score:5, Insightful)

            by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 04, 2005 @08:31PM (#12437228)
            Not only that, but it is also a beautiful solution to all the googlebombing, keyword-linking pages.

            You know what I mean. Thousands of pages with nothing but keywords, some random readable text, and links to pages whose ranking they want to pump. These have become sofisticated enough that you can't tell them apart from real web pages just by looking at their linking patterns.

            So what's the difference? Real pages are actually visited by people while spam pages aren't. You can use aggregated browsing data to set apart useful from non-useful pages.

            Add this to Trust Rank and you got a winner. All you need is a very large amount of bandwidth.
            • Re:correct (Score:4, Interesting)

              by adpowers ( 153922 ) on Wednesday May 04, 2005 @09:52PM (#12437710)
              Good point, may I add to it?

              This may also help them determine which links are also useful. Remember that blog software company that was caught hosting spam pages (it was on /. a few months back)? They were a perfectly valid website and had lots of visitors, but hidden on the front page were a bunch of links to the spams. Google would hit these links, but almost no actual humans would. That is sort of along the lines of what you said, but it would allow them to be even more fine grained (find the links that users are likely to hit). Hmm, hopefully that makes sense, it did in my brain.

      • Re:Exactly. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by natrius ( 642724 ) * <niran@@@niran...org> on Wednesday May 04, 2005 @08:11PM (#12437081) Homepage
        Let's look at the information Google currently has to generate search results from.
        1. The content of each webpage (text, images, video, anything really)
        2. The number of pages that link to a page in question
        3. The words that people use to link to a page
        4. The sites that people click on after searching for a term
        These by themselves generate pretty good results, but sometimes this information can be deceptive. The more metrics you have to measure relevance by, the better.

        So now, Google offers to cache the Internet from everyone. What can they get out of this? Well, everyone here is speculating about the evil things, so I'll leave those as a given. What I haven't seen so far is a very valuable piece of information they get from this: web traffic. They get to see how many people go to web sites, what time, where they got referred from, and anything else that can be deciphered from someone's web traffic. Not only can they rank pages by how many people link to a page, they get to see how often each link is actually used to get to the page. That's extremely valuable, because it's hard to fake convincingly. Web sites won't be able to plant links around the Internet to increase their ranking, because if no one actually clicks the link, then it's not important in the first place. That is awesome.

        Why didn't I think of that?
      • Re:Exactly. (Score:4, Insightful)

        by EnronHaliburton2004 ( 815366 ) * on Wednesday May 04, 2005 @08:12PM (#12437094) Homepage Journal
        money from your personal browsing records.

        They want to know what everyone is searching for in a given moment, and model their advertising business around that information. This is the purpose behind Gmail and Google Groups.

        This is their business model. They are an Ad business first, and a search engine second.

        They will gain information from your personal browsing records. Their advertising business can use this information with direct-market advertisements, future trend prediction, etc.

      • Re:Exactly. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Jugalator ( 259273 ) on Wednesday May 04, 2005 @08:13PM (#12437100) Journal
        Google offering to proxy the web for everyone cannot make sense unless they're planning to make a lot of money from your personal browsing records.

        Hmm, money? Yes, in the end of course they need to profit from it. Google is not charity organization, and have a ton of expenses. However,money how? is a more interesting question.

        I can't believe Google will simply sell the results to some third party -- that would look pretty bad PR-wise, and Google has so far tried to avoid these things as well as possible. Something more commonly seen with Google is beating the competition by providing good and accurate search services. If they do that, they gain a larger market share since they're simply better, and that will make companies willing to pay more for AdWords. Tadaa, Google in a nutshell, and how they've always worked.

        So I basically think it may have something to do with this [slashdot.org]. What better foundation for a TrustRank system can you get, than one where you know how visited sites are? Scam sites would only get sporadic visitors from fooled Internet users and have their PageRank drop like a rock, while news sites, popular gaming sites, and so on, would get large numbers of returning users. Cross-linking scam sites would find out that their exploits wouldn't work very well anymore, and Google could possible tune their rank system to let both PageRank and TrustRank have an influence on the final rank. Sounds like the regular Google philosophy of conquering by improving. And they'd need our browsing habits to pull it off.
    • Re:Smart. Scary. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by saforrest ( 184929 ) on Wednesday May 04, 2005 @07:32PM (#12436746) Journal
      First, they collect your search information. Next they collected your email. Now they collect your destination. You put it all together, that is quite a bit of information.

      Add to that your Usenet posts [google.com], where you're going or where you live [google.com], what you're buying [google.com], what kind of news you're interested in [google.com], and maybe even who your friends are [orkut.com].

      But all that's only true if you give them the information. Even so, the quantity that Google could know about me just given all the Google stuff I've used from one single IP address is rather alarming.

      But I don't mind. This is partly because I don't think they're jerks (as far as public corporations go, anyway), but mostly still because I don't think they really care.

      If we had a lot of evidence they did care, then I suspect that there would immediately exist a movement for 'free', anonymous versions of whatever services Google currently provides.
      • Re:Smart. Scary. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by lecithin ( 745575 ) on Wednesday May 04, 2005 @07:36PM (#12436789)
        "But I don't mind. This is partly because I don't think they're jerks (as far as public corporations go, anyway), but mostly still because I don't think they really care.

        I apologize, but I think that you are being naive.

        Perhaps they are not 'jerks' but they do care. Every thing that they log is information. Knowledge is Power.

        Just my thoughts.

      • Re:Smart. Scary. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by spagetti_code ( 773137 ) on Wednesday May 04, 2005 @08:07PM (#12437040)
        Google say they will do no evil. Great, and I trust that.

        But what I also trust is that they will open their doors and computers very wide to the first FBI agent with a supboena, especially with the full weight of The [i-newswire.com] Patriot [wikipedia.org] Act. [slashdot.org]

        Judges are handing wiretapping orders out like confetti, [slashdot.org] so you need to consider that any information held by any company belongs to the government at any time. All your base belong to us. And what's even scarier is that no-one is allowed to talk about it - all requests for info come with gag orders.

        I'd be willing to bet that Google have already been approached for information.

        What i'd like to know is what sort of data mining expertise the FBI is gathering in preparation for getting their hands on all googles files.

        • Re:Smart. Scary. (Score:3, Interesting)

          by cicho ( 45472 )
          "Google say they will do no evil. Great, and I trust that."

          Google's *founders* said that, and you or I may trust them, because they're geeks and they're doing cool stuff. But did google shareholders say that too?

          Whatever information Google now has that it is choosing not to use or is using in a benign manner *will* eventually be used to detriment of Google users' privacy if the shareholders decide it's gonna raise their "value".
    • do no evil! (Score:4, Insightful)

      by SuperBanana ( 662181 ) on Wednesday May 04, 2005 @07:35PM (#12436782)
      Very Smart..Very Scary...

      "Don't worry. Their motto is 'do no evil', so we can trust them!", say the geek masses.

      Dow Chemical's motto is "Living. Improved Daily". Unless you're one of 15,000-30,000 people in Bhopal, India [wikipedia.org], of course.

      Ford's motto is "Ford: Quality is #1". Well, except for the Ford Pinto (or its modern equivalent, the Ford Crown Victoria, which is burning police to death left+right). Or Ford Explorers, where management ignored engineering reports saying the roof pillars were substantially weaker. Or ignition switches in millions of Ford vehicles which would catch fire- even if you weren't using the car? Then there's the Ford Focus, which I think is close to setting the world record on factory recalls...

      Then there's GE- "we bring good things to life". Well, I don't think the people who have been harmed by dioxin poisoning would agree with you there. But hey, GE will sell you a nice water filtration system (seriously- go into Home Depot, GE is the featured brand. Note how it brags about removing industrial toxins?)

      Microsoft says "enabling people and businesses to realize their full potential", something I think we can all give a good chortle about, considering how grossly unreliable virtually every Windows release has been, how incompatible their software is one year to the next, piss-poor interoperability, anticompetitive practices, licensing costs, spyware, viruses, etc.

      Need I go on to prove that corporate PR lines are just that- nothing more than PR lines? Or should I mention that Google AdSense terms prohibited AdSense customers from discussing, in public or private, their experience/satisfaction with AdSense? Hmm. Now, why would a "do no evil" corporation do something like that?

      • Re:do no evil! (Score:3, Insightful)

        by oldwolf13 ( 321189 )
        I wish I had mod points for you... you spoke my mind for me.

        I think if Google actually wanted to adhere to "Do No Evil", they wouldn't be gone public with their IPO.

        Public companies do whatever they can to maximize profits, I've even read (although I believe this was on /.) that they HAVE to do this.

        There is also a long ways between "Do No Evil", and "Do Good Things".

        On a side note, I use both gmail and google, I remember the pre-google days when searching was just painful. I hope that google will not
      • by KalvinB ( 205500 ) on Wednesday May 04, 2005 @08:07PM (#12437051) Homepage
        most likely because they want to maximize the value of adsense. If everyone were all talking about how much money they were making on AdSense people would start propping up pages to target the most lucrative ads (they do already). The value of those ads would then go down. As it is it's all a big mystery and so people for the most part don't consider AdSense when deciding what content to put on-line.

        The other problem with talking about AdSense performance is that your success or failure a) can't be proven and b) could influence other's decisions to or not to market using Adsense. How well or not someone else's site is doing with AdSense has exactly zero to do with how well it will do on your site but people think it does anyway.

        If Google took away the gag you'd have thousands of people bitching about how little their site is making and it would make Google look bad even though it has nothing to do with them. Sorry but your crappy little Geocities site isn't going to generate enough traffic to allow you to quit your day job. You'd also have people going on and on about how much they're making which would cause people to have unrealistic expectations.

        Google wants entire control of the PR side of AdSense which is reasonable. It's how they pay the bills and make investors happy.

      • Re:do no evil! (Score:3, Interesting)

        by iammaxus ( 683241 )
        -1 Troll, for sure. The amount of good that all the companies you have mentioned have done (except for possibly Microsoft) is immesurable. Sure there have been many setbacks along the way, but these companies have been innovating and improving our lives for literally more than a century each. As for Google, I can't sem to find any refereence to what you described in AdSense's terms and conditions, have a look for yourself https://www.google.com/adsense/localized-terms/ [google.com]
      • Re:do no evil! (Score:5, Informative)

        by Dun Malg ( 230075 ) on Wednesday May 04, 2005 @08:54PM (#12437360) Homepage
        Dow Chemical's motto is "Living. Improved Daily". Unless you're one of 15,000-30,000 people in Bhopal, India, of course.

        Nice troll. Inflamatory, and correct only by a tenuous strand of tortured logic. It was Union Carbide who gassed Bhopal, which didn't merge with Dow until 1999, a full fifteen years after the incident, and five years after Union Carbide sold its 51% interest in the Bhopal facility.

        • Re:do no evil! (Score:5, Insightful)

          by radish ( 98371 ) on Wednesday May 04, 2005 @11:44PM (#12438362) Homepage
          So? When you do something like Union Carbide did, you have a responsibility. If you get bought out by some other company (Dow in this case) they just bought that responsibility. They should not be allowed to wash their hands of the whole mess just by selling the plant and then selling the company.
  • Google turns Evil (Score:4, Insightful)

    by weasello ( 881450 ) <weasel@noSpam.greensheep.ca> on Wednesday May 04, 2005 @07:16PM (#12436572) Homepage
    When is google going to learn that aggregation is not the way of the future? They will eventually become so large their shareholders will be able to turn them into a giant evil machine, much lik current companies.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      When is google going to learn that aggregation is not the way of the future?

      Google's value: $4.8 billion
      weasello's value: $29.93
  • Hmm, (Score:3, Interesting)

    by killa62 ( 828317 ) on Wednesday May 04, 2005 @07:16PM (#12436575)
    But how does it know how many minutes you save?
    • Re:Hmm, (Score:3, Informative)

      ... But how does it know how many minutes you save...

      I assume it would calculate your current download speed as well as the size of the information you're retrieving, then do the same based on going through Google's servers, and come up with an approximate value of saved time.

      Something like that anyhow I think.

      Hope be with ye,
  • Slashdot effect? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by blackmonday ( 607916 ) on Wednesday May 04, 2005 @07:16PM (#12436576) Homepage
    Could this solve the slashdot effect problem, if we're all running it? Are ads associated with it?

    • Re:Slashdot effect? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by jangobongo ( 812593 ) on Wednesday May 04, 2005 @07:55PM (#12436940)
      The "What Webmasters Need To Know About Google Web Accelerator" [google.com] page touches on this:
      Will Google Web Accelerator affect my server load or usage statistics?

      It depends on whether your pages are cacheable. You can identify page requests prefetched by Google Web Accelerator through the HTTP header X-moz: prefetch. You can learn more about this header on the Mozilla [mozilla.org] website.
      Am I reading this right? If the page has been cached at Google, Google will use that cache for the preloading. And webmasters can do certain things to aid the prefetching function.

      So it sounds to me that if the website being slashdotted is cache-able (and the slashdotters have this accelerator), it could ease the website's server load.
    • Improved Page Rank (Score:5, Insightful)

      by skraps ( 650379 ) on Wednesday May 04, 2005 @08:04PM (#12437010)
      This could be used to provide a better Page Rank. Instead of determining worth based on links that exist, they will determine it based on links that are used.
  • by neoform ( 551705 ) <djneoform@gmail.com> on Wednesday May 04, 2005 @07:16PM (#12436577) Homepage
    Considering this looks like a way for google to simply track every site i visit.. i sure hope they really aren't.. "evil".. :-/
  • free webstats (Score:5, Interesting)

    by fitsnips ( 187974 ) <spam@fitsni[ ]net ['ps.' in gap]> on Wednesday May 04, 2005 @07:16PM (#12436579) Homepage
    will they provide you with your web surfing trend stats?
  • The irony.. (Score:3, Funny)

    by OlivierB ( 709839 ) on Wednesday May 04, 2005 @07:16PM (#12436581)
    Webaccelerator's page is slashdotted...
  • hmmm (Score:3, Interesting)

    by willscott ( 674036 ) on Wednesday May 04, 2005 @07:17PM (#12436582)
    is this really able to speed stuff up if you have broadband? not sure if i really belive them.
  • More info (Score:5, Informative)

    by ranson ( 824789 ) * on Wednesday May 04, 2005 @07:17PM (#12436584) Homepage Journal
    More information about GWA is posted here: http://blog.searchenginewatch.com/blog/050504-1453 07 [searchenginewatch.com] Also, browsers other than Firefox and Mozilla can take advantage of GWA if you set them to proxy requests over Localhost:9100 while GWA is running in the system tray. It should also be pointed out that this is apparently geared towards broadband users.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Also, browsers other than Firefox and Mozilla can take advantage of GWA if you set them to proxy requests over Localhost:9100 while GWA is running in the system tray.

      So basically, if anybody else is logged into the same system as you at the same time, they can figure out whether or not you have visited any given page by connecting to your GWA installation and seeing whether or not the page downloads faster than your Internet connection speed.

  • by yagu ( 721525 ) * <yayagu.gmail@com> on Wednesday May 04, 2005 @07:17PM (#12436585) Journal

    I've RTF(ine)A and I give... what makes this different/better/faster/whatever than a proxy server?

    And, while I'm at it.... I submit my vote that Google make linux/*nix versions of their stuff more quickly/readily. I find it no small irony that a company that relies on over 10,000 linux servers (actually I think the number may exceed 40,000) essentially making them one of the largest benficiaries of the OSS community they don't yet have a Google Desktop, nor are offering a beta of this accelerator for the linux community.

    Don't get me wrong, I like Google, think they've done great stuff, but come on -- how about paying back a little to the hand that giveth.

    • by Zocalo ( 252965 ) on Wednesday May 04, 2005 @07:28PM (#12436715) Homepage
      what makes this different/better/faster/whatever than a proxy server?

      Nothing really that I can see other than that it will always compress which is something that some sites do not have enabled, which should offer some speed ups and help reduce over all web traffic. I'd assume that this is tied into Google's cache used on the search engine, so if you request a page through the proxy for which the cached data is stale it will update that also, then re-index the data for the search engine. If so, this could be *very* useful for alleviating things like the Slashdot effect, although it would need to pull the graphics to be of any real use here. The problem with caching the graphics though, is that it's going to make it *really* difficult for Ad-Blockers to work out which files are ads and which are not...

    • by _undan ( 804517 ) <dan@undumb.com> on Wednesday May 04, 2005 @07:39PM (#12436812)
      Draw a circle. This is all the people using a F/OSS desktop environment.

      Now, draw another circle inside that one, almost exactly the same size, but not quite. These are the F/OSS zealots who won't install anything unless it's GNU licenced.

      The area between the boundaries of those two circles are the only people who would install it. And I don't know about you, but I'm pretty sure the other guy in that part of the chart understands that.
    • by natrius ( 642724 ) * <niran@@@niran...org> on Wednesday May 04, 2005 @07:41PM (#12436832) Homepage
      I find it no small irony that a company that relies on over 10,000 linux servers (actually I think the number may exceed 40,000) essentially making them one of the largest benficiaries of the OSS community they don't yet have a Google Desktop, nor are offering a beta of this accelerator for the linux community.

      Uh, it's not ironic at all. As you said, they use Linux servers, not desktops. Those servers don't need Google Desktop or Webaccelerator.

      Don't get me wrong, I like Google, think they've done great stuff, but come on -- how about paying back a little to the hand that giveth.

      You think they're trying to do Windows users a favor by releasing these products? They're doing it for themselves. They make money off of these products by solidifying their mindshare and marketshare. Releasing Linux versions (or OS X versions, for that matter) obviously isn't worth it to them.
  • by binaryspiral ( 784263 ) on Wednesday May 04, 2005 @07:17PM (#12436587)
    This is great news for dialup users that are being charged for this service through their own ISP.

  • Is this like... (Score:5, Informative)

    by cs02rm0 ( 654673 ) on Wednesday May 04, 2005 @07:17PM (#12436588)
    ...a proxy which just compressed stuff on the server and then decompresses it on the client?

    Oh... yes.

    Google Web Accelerator uses various strategies to make your web pages load faster, including:

    * Sending your page requests through Google machines dedicated to handling Google Web Accelerator traffic.
    * Storing copies of frequently looked at pages to make them quickly accessible.
    * Downloading only the updates if a web page has changed slightly since you last viewed it.
    * Prefetching certain pages onto your computer in advance.
    * Managing your Internet connection to reduce delays.
    * Compressing data before sending it to your computer.
  • Now I can get this message: " Nothing for you to see here. Please move along." - way faster! Thank you Google!
  • At least they were decent enough to point out that you need to READ their Privacy Policy:
    • Google Web Accelerator sends requests for web pages, except for secure web pages (HTTPS), to Google, which logs these requests. Some web pages may embed personal information in these page requests.
    • Google receives and temporarily caches cookie data that your computer sends with webpage requests in order to improve performance.
    • In order to speed up delivery of content, Google Web Accelerator may retrieve webpage content that you did not request, and store it in your Google Web Accelerator cache.

    To learn more, read our Google Web Accelerator Privacy Policy (http://webaccelerator.google.com/privacy [google.com]).

    Does anyone know if the accelerator gives you the option to omit certain webpages from your accelerating experience, or is this going to turn into a huge information mine? (Not that the two are exclusive, there are going to be users who just blindly send anything through the accelerator regardless).
  • by Draoi ( 99421 ) * <draiocht@mac. c o m> on Wednesday May 04, 2005 @07:18PM (#12436607)
    ... Google will log every URL you visit via their proxy logs. They'll ultimately forward on the requested page with their own AdWords and possibly mask other sites' adverts. Not sure if I like that ..
  • Anonymizer? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by alewar ( 784204 ) on Wednesday May 04, 2005 @07:19PM (#12436612)
    Do they provide also an anonymizer service with this accelerator/proxy??
    • by Anonymous Coward
      I visited thehun.org [slashdot.org] while running dumeter as I wanted to see what a link heavy site would do to the Google Web Accelerator.

      I noticed a geo ip advertisement at thehun that normally recognizes I live in Phoenix and offering to introduce me to hookers in Phoenix. Now though, it wants to introduce me to hookers in Mt. View.

      So that sucks.
  • by Liquidrage ( 640463 ) on Wednesday May 04, 2005 @07:19PM (#12436616)
    what are they going to do with it?

    Not that I'm anti-google. But it's amazing all the things they've gotten themselves into. Now they're apparently going to cache (pieces of) the internet for us.

    Though this might finally be a usefull tool to get around the /. effect.
  • No thanks! (Score:5, Informative)

    by sanermind ( 512885 ) on Wednesday May 04, 2005 @07:25PM (#12436679)

    Google reserves the right to modify these Terms and Conditions from time to time in its sole discretion, without notice or liability to you. You agree to be bound by these Terms and Conditions, as modified.
  • by FS1 ( 636716 ) on Wednesday May 04, 2005 @07:34PM (#12436770)
    I think that a word of caution is needed here. Now Google, in it's current state, seems to defy the "laws of business." I for one hope that it remains an honest company that continues producing software that is innovative and desired. People trust Google way more than any other company in recent memory. Google has access now, through their software, to every file, search, website you visit, password, personal detail, and photo you have (assuming you use all their software).

    Am I the only one a little shocked at this? What's to stop another company from swooping in and buying Google with all your assorted information? Or, to stop Google itself from using this information in a way that most people wouldn't want them to?

    Obligatory Murphy's Law derivative quote: "If everything seems to be going well, you have obviously overlooked something."
  • by Mustang Matt ( 133426 ) on Wednesday May 04, 2005 @07:56PM (#12436952)
    Effectively, if it's a proxy, couldn't it be used to anonymously access the web?

    Not that google doesn't keep logs to let law enforcement see who you are, but in theory, the logs of the sites visited would see google unless they explicitly told them you're ip correct?
  • ...and everything to do with decreasing loads/speeding up Google sites. After using it for several minutes, I noticed that any froogle/googlegroups/google search I do has marked time savings- more than any other sites I found (except CNN front page, which is also much faster and well suited for this kind of thing...)

    Basically, running the web accelerator allows google to have compressed copies of all their pre-generated search pages and use the proprietary webaccelerator internals to give them a strategic advantage over web publishers/services/searches- Imagine the benefits this could have on their internal server load if adopted by 90% of web suers...

    In typical Google fashion, a very clever move!
  • by microbee ( 682094 ) on Wednesday May 04, 2005 @08:09PM (#12437068)
    Not just because of technical reasons (it might reduce the latency but it incurs more traffic and load on the machine and the Internet), but I am starting to feel uncomfortable of how aggressive Google has been trying to be. "Do no evil"? I hear the similar thing when Larry started to give away Bitkeeper to Open Source developers. Not that I say Larry is evil, but a company is a company. I cannot trust them without limits.
  • by Quixote ( 154172 ) * on Wednesday May 04, 2005 @08:21PM (#12437165) Homepage Journal
    Let's assume that Joe Schmoe installs the "web accelerator". Next he downloads child porn. Who's responsible for this? Can he sue Google, claiming they "put it there" ?

    Msr. Francois in France browses a Nazi site and Google happily provides the content to him via the handy web accelerator. Can the French go after Google now? (as if they're not already).

    Chinese government demands that Google strip out offensive content and replace any references to Li Hongzhi [google.com] with "<insert insult here>". Will Google comply? Has such a demand been made before [detnews.com] ?

    Plus, what about copyrights and such? Will Google be held liable for pushing out outdated pages? How will the servers (from where Google is grabbing pages) get their statistics? And since Google will be sort-of screen-scraping, why does Google object to it themselves?

    Just some questions that come to mind.

  • by DaveJay ( 133437 ) on Wednesday May 04, 2005 @08:34PM (#12437243)
    Thank goodness. One of my biggest computer problems is the slowness of web pages loading. I remember back when I had a modem, and pages loaded like lightning because the Internets were not very crowded yet. Now that everyone and their brother has the broadbands on their machines, it's too crowded. I hate waiting in line. Hooray for google!
  • Works under linux! (Score:4, Informative)

    by Rayban ( 13436 ) on Wednesday May 04, 2005 @08:57PM (#12437377) Homepage
    Works with Wine:

    1) Install on a Windows box
    2) Copy Program Files\Google\Web Accelerator files to linux box
    3) "wine GoogleWebAccWarder.exe &"
    4) Set your browser proxy to "localhost" port 9100
    5) Surf with speed

    If it fails, check your windows\temp directory for the google logs...

    Note - this comment posted with Google Web Accelerator. :)
  • by bogie ( 31020 ) on Wednesday May 04, 2005 @09:17PM (#12437508) Journal
    Right now I'm posting from IE and trying to figure out what it screwed up.

    Firefox wouldn't launch after install. After rebooting I see this http://img115.echo.cx/img115/6282/firefoxhosed5wg. jpg [img115.echo.cx] bookmarks, the address bar, and my personal toolbar links are gone.

    Not exactly what I expect from Google. Although I'm sure its working fine for others I have a plain jane install that gives me no grief. It did work on IE btw, but it totally screwed up Firefox. Uninstalling did NOT fix the problem.
  • by Eric_Cartman_South_P ( 594330 ) on Wednesday May 04, 2005 @11:03PM (#12438127)
    Many people will use many, if not all, of Googles services. That means one single company can aggregate the data of a persons:

    Website visits
    Web Searches
    Hard Disk Drive contents
    Hard Disk Drive searches ...and now everything about every page they visit, cookies and all, since they are acting as a proxy!

    Just the aggregation of this data on people who use all of their services could make their current income seam like pennies. This is the type of think that governments like a lot, not just large corporations. I know they have a "don't be evil" pholosophy (their words) but shit, even Skynet was nice at one point.

1 Angstrom: measure of computer anxiety = 1000 nail-bytes