Google Web Accelator (What it is and How to Block it)
Think Google's Autolink and Desktop Search were privacy problems? Google released perhaps its most controversial product ever: The Google Web Accelerator. It's a simple product, one that promises to speed up your internet connection like many little applications have in the past. It doesn't seem like much.
Of course, look a little more carefully and you might even be impressed. The ideas behind Web Accelerator are pretty nice, smart enough to be worthy of a Googler's famous 20% time. Google has essentially decided to make "an extra copy" of the entire World Wide Web (or at least the HTML and images of it) and let you run it off their own blazing servers.
Dig a little further and the picture grows macabre. Google is really offering to replace the web, wanting everyone to use their copy instead of the public copy. While the World Wide Web is currently a decentralized network of nationwide servers, Google wants the whole web to run off its computers, in one of its anonymous, nondescript data centers. Consider their now-popular cache gone wild.
Members at SomethingAwful forums had a rude shock, for instance when screenshots of their logged-in browsers were inadvertently available for others to enjoy.
Can I block it from my site?
Worry, not there are solutions, take a peek but exercise discretion:
Before we go stork raving mad, let's think it up. It's kind of hard to believe that Google would let a little speed utility through the gates so any duffer and his dog could see what you're up to.
Even though PageRank and relevant search are the coin of the realm, it doesn't make sense to me that Google would release something this controversial to achieve that.
There's something more to this, a unifying theory that brings it all together. For instance, take a look at Larry Page's promise, "What we've done for the Web, Google aims to do for television."
I've gotta conclude that after the Gmail hysteria, Google could see the GWA firestorm coming. GWA must be so strategic and central to Google's future that they pushed forward with it in spite of the public backlash.
I could be wrong, but the stars seem to be aligning around a push into the living room with Google TV. Indexing TV content, talk of a TiVo marriage, Current TV, hosting video content (not just indexing it) — and now hosting the Web close to the user to solve latency and bandwidth issues.
Google's spending half a billion bucks this year on new capacity, more than they've spent in the last two years combined — just for search? Google TV seems to be a consistent unifying theory that explains why Google's doing things that don't seem to make any sense.
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