Neil Turner's Blog

Blogging about technology and randomness since 2002

Google Web Accelerator

Google Web Accelerator actually works. I downloaded it and tried it out on a few sites and they seem to work much, much faster on my connection than without the accelerator enabled. It also has the advantage that anonymises your browser session when communicating with sites.
The catch? Well, there’s that privacy thing. I’ll quote Cory Doctorow here:

Xeni blogged Polymorf’s note about the new Google Accelerator being useful as an anonymizer, but of course you’re not anonymous to Google, which knows about your search history (if you’ve got cookies on), your email address (if you register for Groups, etc), your friends (if you use Orkut), your email (if you use gmail), and even has your credit card (if you use AdWords or Answers). Anonymity from everyone except Google is nice, but it’s not really anonymity, given how easy it would be to subpoena information from them (everyone knows where Google is), and given how much info this allows Google to collect and correlate on you.

During installation, as well as agreeing to the usual license agreement you also need tick a box that says that Google may be able to collect personally identifiable information from you if you use the software. It is explained adequately though without lots of boring legalese, instead sticking to three bullet points.
If having all your base belonging to Google worries you then you may want to avoid this, or at least have it off by default (you can also specify specific domains that aren’t sent through it’s proxy system and it doesn’t work with HTTPS sites). But it is a useful anonymising service if anything.
What it will do is really annoy the company behind OnSpeed, who charge £25 a year for a very similar service.

6 Comments

  1. Yeah, normally I’m not worried overly about privacy issues, but I think I might give it a miss.
    It seems a little to google/bigbrother for me.

  2. EXACTLY my status. I’ve got Gmail, I use Google for all my searches. I /did/ try Google desktop but uninstalled it pretty quickly. This, however, is a little too much for me.

  3. To be honest I couldn’t really care if Google know what sites I go to or not. I can’t see how it could affect me. The only way it could affect me as far as I can see is if I committed a crime or something and there was a court order to view my web records but I’m sure my ISP would know far more about that anyway!
    I’ve saved a whole minute using the GWA already!

  4. Problem is, GWA only works on Win2k/XP. Not on my Windows Me boxes. Eep.

  5. I’m sure the ‘Dave’ file would make for interesting reading, then! 😉
    Joking, joking.

  6. And it works with Firefox!
    I have to use it just for that.