Friday, December 16, 2005

Google Web Accelerator

So Google has some pretty neat tools available at Google Labs.

I installed the Google Web Accelerator (which is avialable for both MSIE and Firefox, but only on PC's) and have noticed a big difference. It also gives you stats to show you exactly how much it's helped. I recommend it.

I also like the Google Firefox extensions, which work on both PC and Mac. In particular, I'm a fan of the "Google Send to Mobile", "Blogger Comments," and "Google Safe Browsing" extensions. I realize that I'm sending a lot of information to Google about my browsing preferences, but I'm okay with that. For some reason, I trust Google. I even use that whole "personalized search" feature where it logs my searches and customizes my future searches based on it.

Oh, and the Fasterfox extension (available at Firefox's extension page) also speeds up things a bit by playing with network and protocol settings. However, I noticed the biggest leap with Google's tool. (available for MSIE too, just not available on a Mac)


Brian J. McGuirk said...

Hi. Nice blog. Couple thoughts:

1) While I intuitively understand the appeal of the Web Accelerator, my thoughts on it have been shaped by this post at Signals v Noise. Well worth your perusal.
2) I'm with you on trusting Google. They have an enormous amount of data on me, and yet all they have to do is say "Don't be evil" and I'm a liberty-less sheep. But millions of people are exactly like us.

That's my $.02.

Theo said...

I understand your concern, but I really don't think that's going to be a problem as long as you surf around reputable web sites. All of the standard forum and content management systems fall into this category.

Basically, I view GWA no differently than I do smart caching web proxies. Plus, it seems to behave like a proxy. It pays attention to the appropriate pragma tags, it doesn't do any POSTs, and it even advertises itself as doing prefetch -- though I don't think this last thing is even needed.

The ONLY thing I worry about is that on many forums (including some of the software packages I've wrote :( ) the "logout" is a simple HTTP GET, so I might end up getting logged out a little too soon, but I haven't noticed that yet.

And even if I do have troubles, I'm just going to stick with it. Prefetching, caching, and compressing are ways to keep the web very snappy. It's best to err on the side of these things than on the side of the poorly educated and/or lazy 2-bit web developer.

Theo said...

Oh, and plus there's a "Don't accelerate this website" (there's something similar in the prefetching engine in "Fasterfox" which is available even on OS X) that is very easy to use. If I ever have problems, I just select not to accelerate this website then write the developer and ask him to fix the flaw in her design. I really *THINK* that'll be sufficient.