Google Web Accelerator for Broadband Internet Connections
Google Web Accelerator is a free beta program that launches your broadband Internet connection into hyper speed. This Web accelerator loads cached and compressed versions of requested Web pages from Google’s servers, saving frequent Internet users two to three hours of loading time a month.
The Web accelerator works based on information Google has collected on what links people are most likely to click on a particular page, and which pages on the Internet are most frequently viewed. Google then “grabs” and caches these pages to its own servers, and in the case of the most popular pages, compresses these files so they are ½ to 1/3 of their original size. Retrieving smaller files less often helps pages you visit frequently load faster.
Security Concerns Associated with Google Web Accelerator
There is one acknowledged security flaw in the beta version of the software. Google Web accelerator can call up cached versions of password-protected pages or private discussion groups, giving the user access to potentially privileged information.
For example, a surfer may visit a discussion board and see that it appears as if they are signed in as an entirely different user. However, it should be noted that Google is working on a fix for this issue for the next version of the software, and that it only affects small message board and discussion groups. Google does not cache any Web sites using the HTTPS specification, which provides security for online transactions, so it is impossible for any users to view sensitive credit card or purchasing data.
Privacy Concerns Associated with Google Web Accelerator
Google Web accelerator actively caches and stores pages as you view them, so any personal information that is displayed on a particular page may get picked up and uploaded to the Google server. This, of course, does not include any financial information, but names, e-mail addresses, or street addresses entered into or displayed on non-secure pages may be cached by Google. The Web accelerator also maintains a log of “clickstream” data, which includes any URLs you have requested, the date and time of the request, your IP address, and basic information about your computer and the speed of your connection.
Google maintains that it will not sell this data to any third parties without a user’s permission, but privacy advocates fear that Google will use the data to create a far-reaching profile of its users. Luckily, frequently clearing your browser’s cache and cookies mitigates these concerns.
Web Accelerator Options and Your Broadband Internet Connection
In short, if you are currently unhappy with the speed of your broadband Internet connection and would like to push the limits of your Internet service, Google Web accelerator may be an acceptable option.
Web accelerators were first made popular by dial-up, and are often viewed as an acceptable alternative to a faster connection, although there are many downfalls and concerns associated with them and speed increases are often subjectively described as minimal.
Another, better option may be to simply request faster service from your existing provider. Many service providers offer a premium service with connection speeds of up to 8 Mbps, whereas the standard broadband connection only offers speeds of 2 Mbps. In particular, Time Warner offers an excellent Premium Cable Internet Service Plan that will satisfy any home user feeling the need for speed.