Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Google Web Accelerator for XP and Firefox (ok, for IE too)

Google Web Accelerator

Google's latest toy. Others have shipped similar bits of software, but this one uses Google's infrastructure as the page cache. Scary. I'll use it.
1. What is Google Web Accelerator?

Google Web Accelerator is an application that uses the power of Google's global computer network to make web pages load faster. Google Web Accelerator is easy to use; all you have to do is download and install it, and from then on many web pages will automatically load faster than before.

Please note that Google Web Accelerator is currently in beta test mode. If you have any problems using it or have suggestions for how we can improve it, please see the Google Group devoted to it.

Also note that during the first part of our beta testing period, users outside of North America and Europe may not see much improvement in their web page loading speed.

2. How does Google Web Accelerator work?

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.
* Storing copies of frequently looked at pages to make them quickly accessible.
* Downloading only the updates if a web page has changed slightly since you last viewed it.
* Prefetching certain pages onto your computer in advance.
* Managing your Internet connection to reduce delays.
* Compressing data before sending it to your computer.

7. Can I run Google Web Accelerator on a browser other than Internet Explorer or Firefox?

For other browsers running on Windows, you'll need to manually configure your proxy settings to for HTTP connections.
I have a minor claim to fame with regard to page compression. It's been built into browsers for eons, but many years ago I came up with one of the first applications in a commercial web application.

It's XP only for now. Given the proxy address mentioned above ( is 'localhost') I gather it installs a small proxy server on one's local machine. Of course I'll try seeing if I can use that proxy from my Mac laptop, replacing localhost with the XP machine's IP address (turn of firewall first of course). I'm sure Mac geeks will be figuring out how to jam this thing into Tiger asap.

PS. My wife, who tolerates this sort of geeky enthusiasm, notes that a "Google Accelerator" is just the sort of thing Calvin would have.

1. This thing is astounding. It saved almost 50% of the time it takes the Apple page to load. It's like Firefox is on speed.

2. So now Google knows what we browse to (like it didn't before?) -- including the things we don't search for. Of course that data isn't useful for profiling, directed advertising, etc. Not that I care, I actually like getting ads that are interesting to me. The other day I got one for an S-video cable -- a great find really. And as for privacy -- well, you don't really think you have any, do you? You should have listened to me years ago ....

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