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Google Windows Web Accelerator

 8:09 pm on May 4, 2005 (gmt 0)


System Requirements
Operating System: Win XP or Win 2000 SP3+
Browser: IE 5.5+ or Firefox 1.0+
Availability: For users in North America and Europe (during beta testing phase)

Press Release:

Google Web
Accelerator significantly reduces the time that it takes broadband users to
download and view web pages. The Google Web Accelerator appears as a small
speedometer in the browser chrome with a cumulative "Time saved" indicator.

Here's how it works. A user downloads and installs the client and begins
browsing the web as she normally would. In the background, the Google Web
Accelerator employs a number of techniques to speed up the delivery of
content to users.

Looks like some of the Mozilla hires are paying dvidends.



 12:25 pm on May 7, 2005 (gmt 0)

The way google is entering our privacy, i think, soon, once you write a NickName in google search , say 'sobriquet' , it will display a list of all guys using this nickname for any program in the world ( any forum, yahoo id, hotmail id google is, etc etc etc).

It will then display the IP addresses of all such people, and then the country, location, city, locality, home address, bank account, family details, girlfriends, ... think more.... chat details...... and what not! just because you said "I Agree" .

Are we ready for throwing ourselves in the open for googles hunger for data?


 12:45 pm on May 7, 2005 (gmt 0)

>Are we ready for throwing ourselves in the open for googles hunger for data?<

The Google WA only works on Windows XP, 2000 platforms. Anyone with a Win XP, 2000 OS already has thrown themselves into the Microsoft hunger for data.


 12:52 pm on May 7, 2005 (gmt 0)

Microsoft does not bring our data open in public.

Google has the capability, it is in the search and display business.

I guess the 'person search' from google is not far behind. Think when google implements it in its search engine.

The issue is not what webaccelarator is doing, the issue is what is google aiming at, as web accelarator is not a commercial product.

Fear the unknown


 12:54 pm on May 7, 2005 (gmt 0)

This is similar to the 1bu.com proxy stripping Flash and such. It is similar to the "smurfalizers" and "pornolizers" also. If you ban any of those, you should ban the Google proxy as well. And there's more reasons that you should ban it.

This WebAccelerator is anti-internet. It goes directly against everything that the internet stands for, and it offers no more value than the IE specific "marquee" tag, or the Netscape specific "blink" tag.

Forget about supernova backlash. Some people will indeed see all this as a benefit, and the GoogleNet will probably be perceived as "better" and "faster" than the internet itself.

Yes, and with a large penetration it will actually slow down the real internet as well. So, you're f*cked with it and f*cked without it. Unless you kill it before it grows.

Here's how you can strip ads, insert your own, and get the whole world to like you: First you offer a feature to strip all ads completely, leading to "even faster pages", and then you offer a feature to display AdSense in the places where something is now missing ("adding relevant content").

Don't like it? Don't participate. You want users to see your content? Accept that Google makes all the rules. If you're lucky you can find a way to "opt out" but you can't change a thing. If you "opt out" your page will not get the "Google approved" special links that people click, but your page will still be there (probably slowly fading in SERPs).

So, if you're a webmaster, welcome to the Hotel California. You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave.

For users, what you do is to create switching costs so that it will be perceived as "worse" in some respect if you do not use Google. You build a walled garden in which you have 100% control, and hence can add or subtract "features" as you see fit. Features, as in "the internet is not our common platform, it is a product that you can extend as you see fit, regardless of W3C and similar bodies".

Hey Google, AOL tried that and we did not like it! - we all went for open internet in stead.

Only, in this case you can't prove anything, as there's no guarantee that "your GoogleNet" will look like "my GoogleNet" - you can't link to your proxied version, as when i click the link i will see my proxied version in stead - this is not the internet, it is a proprietary extension of the iternet.

Now all that "dark fiber" talk makes sense to me.

Or, what about introducing special tags that webmasters can use, in order to get their pages to do something that can only be done on the GoogleNet?

Hey Google, IE tried that and we did not like it! - we all went for open standards in stead.


 1:07 pm on May 7, 2005 (gmt 0)

> Microsoft does not bring our data open in public.<

Well, at least not yet. :)

I think the WA is Google's way of preparing for a Googlenet - similar to Microsoft's attempt with the upcoming OS and browser to strengthen the end user dependency on a Microsoftnet.

Google does not have their own browser, yet... So, the only way to tighten relations with the end user is to sell the idea of accellerating web speed. I mean, what else is there to offer to make people install a Google application that could give Google insight and access to browser habbits?


 1:10 pm on May 7, 2005 (gmt 0)

Despite everyone's protestations, I suspect there is little that webmasters can do to change Google's (or any big corp's) mind once it is made up.

We will all eventually be assimilated [en.wikipedia.org]...


 1:10 pm on May 7, 2005 (gmt 0)

All that said: This is a perfectly fine business move for Google, and i do understand why it makes sense to them. If i was in Google Product Development, i would do exactly the same.

I also think that a couple of years ahead, the GoogleNet might in fact be a very nice internet for the average consumer. But, it will be another internet. There might be a Yahoo!Net and a MSNet as well.

Neither of them will be the real thing, but all of them will make the real thing more "difficult" to use somehow. As in: Will offer all kinds of nice proprietary standard "widgets" to make life on their particlar net easier, while increasing machine-only traffic on the normal net - in the extreme to something like constant DDOS-attacks on the average website.

Personally, I hope the rest of you will wake up soon. We don't need this - we specifically don't need this from a player as big as Google. On the contrary, if Google does this we really need Google to become a whole lot smaller.

We need to actively encourage more competition in the SE area right now!


 1:17 pm on May 7, 2005 (gmt 0)

Claus: Thank you for waking us all up. We need you to keep after them. (Bill's heading for rehab/detox.)

IncrediBill tapped:
"Maybe by Sunday I can write coherent paragraphs again and will post an anti-GWA manifest :)"

Look forward to, it Bill.
Send the tab to GG, his bonus should just about cover it.

*Health Warning*: Reading WebmasterWorld can seriously damage Bill's Liver + Wallet

Those MSN and Y! search bods must be loving this thread.


 2:06 pm on May 7, 2005 (gmt 0)

Would you go so far as to say that this is an attempt to privatize the internet?

This as well as the scanning of private messages so they can know which adds to pitch at you. Storing everything electronic bit of data about you for life, and the desktop search? I'm sure the days are not far off when I go to open an excel file with my business projections and I see adwords in there slinging accounting services.

Google is really starting to creep me out. They need to stop getting a pass on all these invasions of freedom and personal privacy just becuase they do things with a smile.


 2:27 pm on May 7, 2005 (gmt 0)

Here's some headers to throw into your .htaccess if you don't want to serve 302's or 403's:

Header always set Pragma no-cache
Header always set Cache-Control private
Header always append Cache-Control no-cache
Header always append Cache-Control no-store

These headers will disable all caching of your pages for User-Agents that respect the HTTP specs, so if that's not what you want, don't use them.

More info: mod_headers [httpd.apache.org], and RFC 2616, section 14.9 [w3.org]

[edited by: claus at 2:35 pm (utc) on May 7, 2005]


 2:44 pm on May 7, 2005 (gmt 0)

March, 5th, 2018:
Civil Lawyer or Prosecutor:
What websites were you browsing May 6th, 2005, Mr. Walkman?


"Privacy advocates, however, expressed concern over storing people's web browsing activities. Such information could be subpoenaed later by law enforcement agencies investigating criminal cases or by lawyers in civil cases.

"Google promises never to rent or sell the information to third parties, but it's still subject to handing over information through the subpoena process," Kurt Opsahl, staff lawyer at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a privacy-rights group in San Francisco, said."


 3:09 pm on May 7, 2005 (gmt 0)

> Here's some headers to throw into your .htaccess if you don't want to serve 302's or 403's<

Yeah, if the server belongs to you.
Not recommended for virtual hosts.


 3:11 pm on May 7, 2005 (gmt 0)

>> Headers

Just tried to insert the headers from my message above on two different sites. It didn't work, it only gave "500 internal server error" errors. I tried both on Apache 1.33 and Apache 2.0.

I'm not sure what i did wrong, but i thought i would tell you all that those rules give errors as they are. So, don't try that at home.

Perhaps someone more experienced in Apache headers can tell what's wrong?

Added: Philaweb - you're right, both were virtual. You know what went wrong?


 3:30 pm on May 7, 2005 (gmt 0)

>You know what went wrong?<

Yes. Sysadmin has not permitted individual HTTP settings of virtual hosts. Default is according to the httpd.conf settings of the server.


 3:34 pm on May 7, 2005 (gmt 0)

I agree with Big Dave and others that building and implementing a new tool is not in and of itself evil and it is silly to say so.

However, several problems arrising from Google's newest programmes and tools have given rise to the fact that there is little to no room left on the web for "mom & pop" webmasters such as myself.

What you are all talking about doing is Greek to me. Not only do I not understand what some have suggested as a means of blocking the web accelerator, but I have no interest in learning such things.

I do not want my photos cached by Google so that others can steal them (bypassing my site) and linking directly to Google's cache ... only to have Google turn around and credit the thief's site with my images!

The whole redirect business is something I can't wrap my head around and there are many other issues I just don't get.

So, as of today, I have decided that I will have to put my site in the hands of a professional who does know what they are doing!

Oddly enough, all these things are creating new work avenues for capable webmasters, so I woud think you would all be happy that folks like me are finally throwing in the towel!

My site is out for tender ... but no, I am not interested in SEO, package deals, hosting or anything else. I just want the following things stopped.

Sticky mail me if you want some work fixing my site to prevent prefetching, preventing cacheing of my photos and other images and writing a new form so that my e:mail address stops getting spammed!


 3:34 pm on May 7, 2005 (gmt 0)

If you have PHP pages, I think you can put it on the script. I know it doesn't help everybody..

"Yeah, if the server belongs to you.
Not recommended for virtual hosts. "


 3:50 pm on May 7, 2005 (gmt 0)

>I think you can put it on the script<

In any HTML document you can use this code:

<meta http-equiv="Pragma" content="no-cache">

But, the User-Agent can be set to override this code.


 3:52 pm on May 7, 2005 (gmt 0)

I think I know why you got an error. I tried it on Apache/2.0.50 (Fedora).

First I had my /etc/httpd/conf/httpd.conf this way:

#LoadModule headers_module modules/mod_headers.so

In other words, this module was commented out. I put this in the .htaccess of one domain:

Header set Cache-Control private

and I got an internal server error.

Then I uncommented the LoadModule line above, and did a httpd restart. Now it works -- I can see this coming out now in the headers of that domain:

Cache-Control: private

But you know what? Even though I'll do it this way for my cgi-bin directories because it's a good general practice, I'm still going to block WA because it makes me feel good.


 4:26 pm on May 7, 2005 (gmt 0)


Marissa Mayer said that that click-stream data from Web Accelerator is not associated with the computer's cookie. "To date, we're not doing anything with this data in terms of market research. We have no plans, but should that change we would aggressively notify our users and give them some escape hatch," Mayer said.

Yeah, okay. Is there a serial number in WA that's sent to Google in the URL? I gotta know and I cannot install this thing with my hardware!

Can someone post or sticky me a URL from WA to the Googleplex that was grabbed from a sniffer? I suspect there's a serial number in it, or else Google would have a hard time keeping track of who has what cookie. If there's a serial number, then it's already been linked to your cookie ID -- even if they're using a static IP address at the plex for WA, they got your cookie when you first downloaded it.


 4:32 pm on May 7, 2005 (gmt 0)

If WA causes problems with your site, then it is not WA that is breaking it. Your site is already broken. Fix your site.

Great idea, thanks so much for your help! If you know of a way to "fix my site" and not allow WA to show Member A's inbox to Member B in VBulletin, let me know. And before you suggest it, yes, I know that I can hack & block this, but the consequences to blocking it have not been fully determined. As GG said, it's only been a couple days.

And again, Google decides to launch a new spyware program as a "benefit," and i'm the one at fault because I haven't hacked my site to block them yet?

Accusing someone of Evil for making a tool is not reasonable.

You're a smart guy. Do you really think Sergey meant "don't commit crimes against humanity" when he talked about Google's motto to not be evil? Of course not! They mean (and have said), that it means to do right by users. So, i'm certainly not saying they are committing crimes against humanity (sheesh), but only using the same words that they are using.

Obviously, it's not the true definition of the word "evil," as I explained in previous posts. BUT, they are "doing evil" according to the definition that they have, themselves, adopted for it.

And last, it doesn't freakin' matter if it's evil or not anyway. When you are as large as Google, have as much market share as they do, you simply can't release products that has this many unintended consequences.


 4:38 pm on May 7, 2005 (gmt 0)

Yeah Marissa, we're all idiots here...

"Google's Mayer said the Web Accelerator is not a market research tool. Rather, the company built the application to give people the same fast experience they have at Google--most search pages are returned in a fraction of a second--while surfing the Web at large."

I'm glad people are waking up. NO matter who does it, whether Google, MFST, Claria or Yahoo, it's just wrong. Don't assume because X does it's ok.


 4:44 pm on May 7, 2005 (gmt 0)

... he said if you use the "Cache-Control: private" HTTP header then we don't serve it from our servers because we obey the http spec

OK, then I am happy (our dynamic pages are all Cache-control: no-cache). I still wish we could opt out of prefetch without having to send a 403 to any and all prefetch requests.

The Contractor

 4:50 pm on May 7, 2005 (gmt 0)

Well, I don't think what they are doing is "evil". C'mon, they are trying to use the data they receive for their business in one way or another. Every site owner worth their salt watches/studies their logs - no different than what they are trying to do, but on a much larger scale. I don't believe their intentions were bad.

Do I agree with their implementation - NO.
Do I believe they are intentionally trying to break sites - NO.
Do I believe they are intentionally trying to make site owners pay more money for bandwidth - NO.
Do I believe they are intentionally trying to skew site owners traffic logs - NO.
Do I believe they are intentionally trying rob affiliates of their money - NO.
Do I believe they were intentionally trying give site rippers another avenue with a fast proxy service - NO.

Just so happens to be what it does. It is a poor product that should not of even been shown to anyone outside the plex until it was thought out and tested. I have blocked it from being used on my sites, but to each their own.

There isn't any need to jump on GoogleGuy, he didn't create or release it. I doubt I would even reply if I was in his shoes as there's not a whole lot he can do except relay messages. They would be better off putting a feedback form on the webaccelerator page, and let people submit their problems. It would at least give GG a break and let him enjoy the weekend a bit ;)

The Contractor

 4:53 pm on May 7, 2005 (gmt 0)

I still wish we could opt out of prefetch without having to send a 403 to any and all prefetch requests.

You can send them to whatever page you want to using mod_rewrite.


 5:51 pm on May 7, 2005 (gmt 0)

okay, if you think this is a naive, helpful product I suggest/dare the following:

0. turn on the WA
1. go to any web site that you are a member of
2. and their login is NOT https but HTTP (like this very prestigious forum)
3. and then enter your password and ID.

I mean if you haven already done this :-)


 8:00 pm on May 7, 2005 (gmt 0)

They would be better off putting a feedback form on the webaccelerator page, and let people submit their problems.
They have


 8:15 pm on May 7, 2005 (gmt 0)

That doesn't work for all of us. Or, maybe, it does work for some of us. Anyway, my access to this site hasn't been affected when using it. At least as far as I can tell.


 8:34 pm on May 7, 2005 (gmt 0)

here is what I say: lets give it a few months and see if thing is bringing adverse or favourable results. Then pass judgement. No use speculating right now.



 8:42 pm on May 7, 2005 (gmt 0)

"lets give it a few months and see if thing is bringing adverse or favourable results"

Uh, no. How big do you want the monster to grow?

I absolutely hate this, and I'm on the side of Claus and the others who see absolutely no benefit (except to Google) and a LOT of potential negatives.

As for 'surfer habits', am I going to be penalized because my site is laid out BETTER than my competitors? A customer can come to my site and find what they want within 2 clicks or 30 seconds. On another site, they'll be spending more time and/or viewing more pages. Is my site going to be penalized for being EFFECIENT?

No way to opt-out of something we don't believe in. Try to block it, and there's a better than average chance your site will disappear from the Google index completely, or at least be, uh, 'penalized'.

Like Claus mentioned in his Hotel California analogy - 'You can checkout any time you like, but you can never leave'.

In the 8 years I've been doing this, I've seen Search Engines do many things I don't agree with, but this tops it all.

I am seriously considering making a call Monday to let them know I'm pulling all Adwords advertising and will not give them another dime if they continue on with this. The only thing that will get their attention is $$$.


 8:49 pm on May 7, 2005 (gmt 0)

The more I think about this, I'm not sure some 'government intervention' may not be in order.

Since all the politicians are right now 'supposedly' fighting for everyone's privacy rights, I wonder if any of them actually understand the negative possibilities of this thing?


 9:11 pm on May 7, 2005 (gmt 0)

I'm not a big fan of the WA, but
Try to block it, and there's a better than average chance your site will disappear from the Google index completely, or at least be, uh, 'penalized'.
is pure conjecture on your part and you are passing it off as fact. There is also no proof at this time that it will have any influence on search results, but I wouldn't be against that. Human use of a link is a good way to determine how much of a vote the webmaster (of the page the link is on) wants to give.
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