GoogleBlue
May 4, 2005 8:22 PM   Subscribe

Google thinks your internet connection is too slow. They want to make it faster.
posted by kickingtheground (55 comments total)
 
Anyone know if this can be used as a proxy for, e.g., getting around governmental firewalls? It seems to work based on caching, after all...
posted by bokane at 8:29 PM on May 4, 2005


Windows only *yawn*

Google just doesn't get it...
posted by AlexReynolds at 8:29 PM on May 4, 2005


This is the same sort of thing that Netscape and NetZero offer -- and which has otherwise been around for years -- I assume?
posted by clevershark at 8:31 PM on May 4, 2005


Google just doesn't get releasing a product for 97% of the audience instead of 100%?
posted by jonson at 8:32 PM on May 4, 2005


They don't get what? They obviously get numbers, which is a really good reason to not support other operating systems.
posted by reflection at 8:34 PM on May 4, 2005


Is that really Google? Or something nefarious?
posted by Citizen Premier at 8:35 PM on May 4, 2005


First my address bar wasn't quick enough, then my method of getting directions wasn't good enough, then my email wasn't efficient enough, and now my 4mbps isn't speedy enough, either. Well alright, but i'm drawing the line here.

...Actually I just want to see google try and improve the panda. COME ON, YOU PANSIES.
posted by phylum sinter at 8:47 PM on May 4, 2005


A little photoshop over his anus stain might improve the panda slightly.
posted by undule at 8:49 PM on May 4, 2005


Citizen: Yeah it is really Google. I had the same thought, so I went the Google search page and followed "more" => Labs and there it is.
posted by LarryC at 8:49 PM on May 4, 2005


It's true, browser helper thingies like this have been around for a long time. But it's Google. C'mon. It's, like, better and stuff.

Actually, Google fanboy-ness aside, I don't typically trust little browser utilities like this from just anyone. Installing anything from C|Net on a Windows machine is just inviting malware/Kazaa these days. So if it's from Google, it's probably not bad.

And it does certainly appear to be legitimately from Google. I guess it could be spoofed. Who's going to install it first and see if it secretly starts serving barnyard porn from their computer?
posted by dammitjim at 8:53 PM on May 4, 2005


undule - don't give them any hints!!!

Alright i've installed this thing and already i've saved .3 seconds. This is totally worth the 8mb box it's nabbing from my resources.
posted by phylum sinter at 8:53 PM on May 4, 2005


I'd be interested in hearing people's experience with this. It seems like one of those cache manager things that have been around for a while. I hate those things because they never update flash movies or video files or audio files correctly. I set my Firefox to check for a new version of every page every time, and I still end up clearing my cache ridiculously often.
posted by lumpenprole at 8:54 PM on May 4, 2005



posted by peacay at 8:56 PM on May 4, 2005


Is this a bad time to ask if everone else's google experience has been a little sluggish as of late?
posted by jikel_morten at 8:59 PM on May 4, 2005


A little photoshop over his anus stain might improve the panda slightly.
*cough*
posted by kickingtheground at 8:59 PM on May 4, 2005


lumpenprole: you know that the olde Netscape trick still works in Firefox? Hold down Shift when you click Reload, and it reloads the page totally from scratch.

I've always disliked the idea of these pre-caching things, probably due to having previously worked in tech support. I like knowing what's working about my internet connection, and how well. Same reason I prefer driving cars with manual transmissions.

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.
  • that sounds like a logjam waiting to happen
  • Storing copies of frequently looked at pages to make them quickly accessible.
  • browser already does that
  • Downloading only the updates if a web page has changed slightly since you last viewed it.
  • that sounds good
  • Prefetching certain pages onto your computer in advance.
  • this is what they all do - i think it's wasteful of network resources, especially on wireless
  • Managing your Internet connection to reduce delays.
  • is this like keepalive stuff? I don't know what this is supposed to be
  • Compressing data before sending it to your computer.
  • this is good for some things, like really big html-heavy pages, but doen't do anything for image files except add processing overhead
posted by dammitjim at 9:17 PM on May 4, 2005


Damn...kickingtheground beat me to the anal bleaching link.
posted by DawnSimulator at 9:18 PM on May 4, 2005


Windows only *yawn*

Google just doesn't get releasing a product for 97% of the audience instead of 100%?


Availability: For users in North America and Europe

Those numbers keep going down.
posted by dg at 9:26 PM on May 4, 2005


Hmm, I have to continually log back in to MeFi, MeTalk and AskMe. All my other log-in sites are fine though.
posted by mischief at 9:27 PM on May 4, 2005


This makes me apprehensive.

Why? Because it means that in addition to knowing about your searches, Google will now know about every visit you make to any url.

But Google has a "do no evil" policy -- they're not the government or even Wal*mart, so why's this a problem, you ask? Because even if Google is run by living breathing saints, all that data in one place is going to be an irresistible temptation to corrupt employees within Google, to hackers without, and to any government official who can order a subpoena or a black-bag job to get at it.

It's simply too much information about private habits in one place.


The Dutch government on 14 May 1940 was by all accounts a good and trustworthy government, and one might have argued that Otto Frank would have had no reason to dear having lots of his and his family's personal information in the hands of the Dutch authorities. But on 15 May 1940, the Netherlands surrendered to Nazi Germany, and turned over all government property to the occupiers -- which would have included any "do no evil" Dutch databases. Thankfully, the Dutch population records didn't record visits to anti-Nazi or Jewish websites, or Anne Frank might not have been able to hide from the Nazis even for the two years she was able to.

Of course, we argue that that can't happen here, but ask any Japanese-American who spent time at Mazanar Relocation Camp.

And have you visited a left-wing or even a Democratic Party site lately? The Bush Administration recently removed from a delegation, made up of phone company employees and formed with the sole purpose of discussing purely technical matters, employees who had donated to the Kerry campaign. They knew who had donated because, by law, the donations are kept in a database. Clearly, those employees are no longer as valuable to the employers, if they can't even get a seat at the table because of their personal political convictions. Will the bumped employees be getting bonus this year, do you think? It's open season on people's private lives, and it's foolish to make it easier for your private life to be tracked.

We must bear in mind the great aggregations of data, even in the most well-intentioned hands, can and will be appropriated or stolen by those who would use them for ill. The best remedy is to aggressively limit such collections of data.
posted by orthogonality at 9:34 PM on May 4, 2005


Googlwin! Godwoogle?
posted by jonson at 9:41 PM on May 4, 2005


In the accelerator preferences: "Specify sites that should not go through Google Web Accelerator." I put MeFi and the login problem disappeared.
posted by mischief at 9:42 PM on May 4, 2005


Think of it this way: It's not a 'web accellerator', it's a very fast anonymizing proxy.
posted by Jairus at 9:45 PM on May 4, 2005


I didn't think this would be a very interesting thread, but now that we've tied anal bleaching into it, I'm quite satisfied.

As much as I like Google's products, I don't think I'm going to go for their web accelerator either. Something about it just seems a little off to me. It's like signing off the last bit of my autonomy. I like getting my data from different servers. And, as has been mentioned, the updates of the caches never seem to be quite right. And my cookies cached on Google servers? ... No thanks.
posted by blacklite at 9:50 PM on May 4, 2005


orthogonality, you're assuming that Google is keeping a database of users -> websites. If they don't keep identifiable logs, it can't be used against anyone.
posted by Jairus at 9:50 PM on May 4, 2005


# Storing copies of frequently looked at pages to make them quickly accessible.
browser already does that


I think they are defining frequently in terms of all users of the web accelerator, not just you. Whatever the exact route between your local machine and the site you are visiting, the odds are that the route to Google is shorter and faster. If many users are viewing a site that is more or less remote, then this should be a big win.

# Prefetching certain pages onto your computer in advance.
this is what they all do - i think it's wasteful of network resources, especially on wireless


The wastefulness of this depends on how well Google can predict what links you might click on next. Presumably they don't download every link on every page that you view, but if every day you come to metafilter and click on the first five links on the page, then it could be a pretty big win.
posted by tkb at 9:51 PM on May 4, 2005


"Presumably they don't download every link on every page that you view"

I just hit some porn site with video samples. After "Save Target As" followed by "Save", the response was immediate. So, it may be prefetching links within the domain.

Anyway,
Load Time for 81 Pages

Without Google Web Accelerator: 4.8 mins
With Google Web Accelerator: 4.5 mins

Total Time Saved: 17.2 seconds
I can't say the time savings is all that impressive.
posted by mischief at 10:04 PM on May 4, 2005


Okay, I've been trying this for about 40 minutes now, and here's what I'm seeing so far:

- Many pages are noticeably faster; some are no faster
- More ads are getting through my Norton Internet Security
- Some minor formatting differences occaisionally appear (font size, spacing, etc.)

I'm still wrestling with the privacy issues, but it does appear to have some benefits.
posted by pmurray63 at 10:04 PM on May 4, 2005


Heh, I didn't see that Performance Data thing. Here's mine:

Load Time for 43 Pages
Without Google Web Accelerator: 3.9 mins
With Google Web Accelerator: 3.0 mins

Total Time Saved: 56.4 seconds

Worked much better for me.
posted by pmurray63 at 10:07 PM on May 4, 2005


Google is the devil. To paraphrase Yoda:

"Firmly entrenched in the capitalist system, they are"

"Obey their negative desires, Google must"

here's one of my own:

"Google's interests are divergent from my own, why should I trust them?"
posted by kuatto at 10:12 PM on May 4, 2005


Load Time for 1450 Pages
Without Google Web Accelerator: 18.5 mins
With Google Web Accelerator: 15.1 mins
Total Time Saved: 3.4 mins
posted by reflection at 10:34 PM on May 4, 2005


I'm trying it out here. 452 pages and no saving yet, but most of my surfing is dynamic. Though you think that some cool compression might have sped things up.
posted by krisjohn at 10:44 PM on May 4, 2005


Availability: For users in North America and Europe

Those numbers keep going down.


And we hadn't even gotten to the "IE and Firefox only" limitation yet.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 10:53 PM on May 4, 2005


Hmm, I have to continually log back in to MeFi, MeTalk and AskMe. All my other log-in sites are fine though.
You do know about the thing where MeFi pages contain your username and password in clear text, don't you? I think, but cannot be sure, that this means your username and password are now stored in Google's cache.
posted by dg at 11:01 PM on May 4, 2005


MeFi pages contain your username and password in clear text, don't you? I think, but cannot be sure, that this means your username and password are now stored in Google's cache.

So somebody could hack Google and then spoof somebody here? E.g., pretend to be languagehat raving ungrammatical death threats, or counterfeit Quonsar as a Sensitive Guy? Wow, what a fiendish plan! With this I could conquer the world!
posted by davy at 12:44 AM on May 5, 2005


MeFi pages contain your username and password in clear text

Not for a while now.
posted by kindall at 2:07 AM on May 5, 2005


Windows only *yawn*

Google just doesn't get it...


"This is a drug, for the world, to give worms to ex-girlfriends!"
posted by Mayor Curley at 4:46 AM on May 5, 2005


i use Opera. there's no possible way browsing the internets could get any faster.
posted by lotsofno at 5:15 AM on May 5, 2005


I use a generic password for non-critical websites like MeFi. If somebody hacks it, so what.
posted by mischief at 5:45 AM on May 5, 2005


lotsofno: You mean aside from not bothering to load ads in the first place? That saves me some bandwidth. Not knocking Opera, just sayin'... I like the plethora of free advertisement & flash blocking plug-ins for FireFox. Never quite sure why people pay money to get rid of advertising when they can legitimately do it for free.

As for Google, anybody that can make Microsoft worry is good news for the consumer. Competition is a good thing.
posted by caution live frogs at 5:58 AM on May 5, 2005


What? Doesn't work on Mozilla?
posted by zardoz at 6:06 AM on May 5, 2005


I'm seeing an install link for Mozilla.
posted by Foosnark at 7:17 AM on May 5, 2005


Anyway, Load Time for 81 Pages

Without Google Web Accelerator: 4.8 mins
With Google Web Accelerator: 4.5 mins
Total Time Saved: 17.2 seconds
I can't say the time savings is all that impressive.


What, are you kidding? At that rate, if you webaccelerate for an entire year, you'd save 35,040 minutes or over 9 weeks!!!. Think what you could do with that time!
posted by beelzbubba at 7:21 AM on May 5, 2005


That 4.8 minutes of download time equates to one hour of realtime.
posted by mischief at 7:29 AM on May 5, 2005


# Sending your page requests through Google machines dedicated to handling Google Web Accelerator traffic.
that sounds like a logjam waiting to happen


Or... not.

# Storing copies of frequently looked at pages to make them quickly accessible.
browser already does that

Not for everyone to share. Each person with their own cache dosn't help anything


# Prefetching certain pages onto your computer in advance.
this is what they all do - i think it's wasteful of network resources, especially on wireless


"Web accelerators" for AOL and whatnot work by pre-compressing websites for modem users. This is for broadband. And since it works with google's shared cache, it'll be faster.

Anyway, it's IE only so who cares?
posted by delmoi at 7:32 AM on May 5, 2005


Oh, okay it works for firefox as well.

In any event, it's not even linked on their main page. Leave it to Mefi to bitch about someone giving something away for free...

Ever think it might be a good idea to limit the use of a beta product at first. What would be the point of someone outside of the continental US area using this to access local websites?

I'm suprised they didn't just give this out to a few people and then have users 'invite' their friends...
posted by delmoi at 7:37 AM on May 5, 2005


The slight benefits from this are not worth the cost of having Google know everything I do on the web. Not that they don't already know that.

This is an ingenious way of getting more data about which sites users visit for improving search results, though. I choose not to take part in the experiment.
posted by grouse at 7:59 AM on May 5, 2005


so has anyone determined whether this will make surfing anonymous (i.e. hide your ip address)?
posted by xmattxfx at 8:22 AM on May 5, 2005


lotsofno, thanks for getting me to finally check out Opera. I'm taking it for a spin and liking it so far.
posted by papercake at 9:08 AM on May 5, 2005


xmattxfx: yes
posted by mr.marx at 9:10 AM on May 5, 2005


The time saved is in Internet Time. The same thing that made dotcoms grow. It is false time, and you're only risking getting your computer stuck in a temporal loop. I would be very careful about overclocking while using this service, because of the tendency to tear a rip in the fabric of spacetime. It will negatively affect your property values... TRUST ME!!!
posted by jmccorm at 10:22 AM on May 5, 2005


mr. marx: curiously, it does not for me. i installed the webaccelerator on a pc i don't care for, and my ip address still shows up on whatismyip.com
posted by xmattxfx at 12:06 PM on May 5, 2005


MeFi pages contain your username and password in clear text
Not for a while now.

OK, my bad.
posted by dg at 3:12 PM on May 5, 2005


I posted my thoughts on the accelerator here... i think it's a play for a bigger piece of the search pie...
posted by TNLNYC at 8:33 PM on May 5, 2005


At that rate, if you webaccelerate for an entire year, you'd save 35,040 minutes or over 9 weeks!!!. Think what you could do with that time!

i've discovered an even more efficient way to to do this: go outside.

imagine it - for every second away from your computer, that's one second of browsing time cut!

speaking of which...
posted by poweredbybeard at 11:14 AM on May 6, 2005


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