Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Review: Google Web Accelerator

I stumbled upon the Google Web Accelerator a few weeks ago. Here is a screenshot off the Google site: This app claims to speed up web activity by using Google's vast and superior caching network, instead of the original site's servers, to satisfy web requests. The Web Accelerator installs a toolbar in both IE and Firefox (Windows only) which tells you how much time you are saving by using it. How does it work? A proxy server is running all the time which intercepts web requests and returns results from Google's server instead of the actual site you are requesting. In the few weeks I used it, the app claimed I "saved" about 30 minutes over direct requests to the web sites. Could I tell? Absolutely no. Let's presume the app is actually saving you time, like it says, its doing it a second or less at a time, so while the total time saved starts to look impressive, in reality its not noticable. And there is a huge downside, I could not get it to work with any Intranet sites that use NTLM authentication, even when you have configured the toolbar not to use the Web Accelerator for those sites. Should you use this? If you are saving fractions of seconds over time, it may be worth it to you at home if you are using Windows. I however, even if I had Windows machines at home or they come out with a Mac version, won't be using it. I can't perceive the differnece and even if I could, the idea that Google has even more information about my web habits doesn't sit well with me. Verdict: Uninstalled.