Accelerating the Web, Google is at risk

Probably for the first time, I am very unhappy with Google. Even when they had plugged in My Search History, I was pondering why Google would go in for a service that makes this little privacy intrusion. It’s accepted that My Search History was a boon for people to come back and look at their search phrases, even after a year but then isn’t it like giving Google your email address and all what you search using Google.

Now with their latest offering of Google Web Accelerator, I am at an uncomfortable state even more. GWA is a plug-in that gets attached to your browser and whenever you hit a web URL, the page is either fetched from Google’s web server through pre-fetching mechanisms or the Google’s web servers nominated just for this purpose will get the page loaded from the respective website’s servers through differential or parallel loads. There is more to it than just this.

Google says that it gets the same information as what my ISP gets. Agreed. Why am I getting hassled here? Two Reasons.

One – My ISP is Comcast and Comcast knows what I am browsing. But there are umpteen ISPs around and I can switch to anyone of them any time. Google is ubiquitous and unique. Imagine just 25% of browsing population in the US installing GWA and using it regularly. If only this 25% of them browse 100,000 sites a day, the traffic to those sites gets routed through Google web servers. So those 100,000 web servers would get to know that most of their traffic came through Google Web Server and not the actual IP address or geography of the browsing source. Last night, when I installed GWA and at clicked on this blog URL for numerous times, the traffic page was showing that the hits came from Google Inc, United States and not from my IP address. Not only GWA acts as a free anonymizer[proxy] to the web but also grabs away the nominal information a site owner should know about his audience.

Two – Google as of yesterday knew my email address, my personal search history and my home address [if subscribed to Google AdSense]. Until now, if only I searched something with Google, I sent some information to Google. Now with Google Web Accelerator, I don’t need to search anything to give Google some pie. Whatever I browse/see/read/visit goes through Google and it knows all that. You might think what’s wrong with that. Being a Google fan/admirer/patron I feel Google is run by honest dudes who are just trying to enhance the web. But then, just too much of everything isn’t good. Having been involved with Data Warehousing technologies, I perfectly understand the power of analytics and business intelligence. With so much of browsing data and web page calls sent through Google, its as simple as building an OLAP cube to get the taste of web. Give a me that RDBMS/Flat File/XML that contains the URL calls and IP numbers, I can get you a scorecard for the web within minutes. With Google being a Data Mining company, this should be just a click away. They will eventually know what goes on in the web. Who sees what? And if only that data is used for enhancing user experience, I am the most happiest of all to salute Google. Will Google assure of that?

As I had supported the Autolink tool of Google, I said that Autolink is a service that’s available for people who download the Google toolbar and also enable the option. The so-called privacy intrusion happens only then. But even if 10% of broadband users subscribe to GWA, I think it’s just much info in the hands of Google. Autolink wasn’t a slippery slope like GWA. I’m just thinking if people were booing at the Autolink feature, imagine what they would do to GWA. Google is risking its brand loyalty and probably that’s the best way to run a successful company. However, appreciate the guts to take the risk.

17 thoughts on “Accelerating the Web, Google is at risk

  1. Phew.. Its gonna throw all page stat counters way off. All the blogs are gonna be deluged with anon comments! Its gonna be fun to watch.

  2. Geek
    Very true, I was a little paranoid about using google when they introduced using search history
    (infact i was so paranoid that I blogged about it) … but then i got used to it.
    I guess people will get used to such things over time…

    Every good thing comes at a “cost” and the cost of using GWA is privacy !!

    Good post !!
    -Signed by an ardent Google fan !

  3. I think you can consider using Geobytes for tracking your visitors. I just hit their site with accelerator enabled and it threw in all information including my ip and location.

  4. Couldn’t agree with you more Guru. As I said in my blog, I think this time around Google is on a path to break one of its philosophies – “Do no evil”.

  5. Lazy – you are just right. Thats the same post i made on my blog yesterday. GWA, personally screwed me up, in just 5 mins of installation. Its not up to the mark.

  6. some people (who use gwa) have found themselves appearing to be logged into another user’s account in a discussion forum — Here’s the org post

  7. I Think Google programmers are being under utilized they seem to get crazy ideas to kill time, or may be they ran out of ideas. A multi billion Dollar Company like Google, spending their resources and their money on products like web accelerator [there are 1000000 similar products], or a photo manager is somewhat very funny, what to call a waste of time or lack of idea or just keeping the employee busy? Alternatively, keeping the stockholders happy; No one knows.

    Frankly , Something like this would help; who knows, they might be working on this already. While shopping in a grocery store say Safeway using my cell phone I should be able to send a SMS to the Google server with the bar code of a product. Based on the product Google server should reply to me with a list of competitive pricing for the product, from various other stores in the neighbor hood, this would be of some use to many, Google is capable of this, and does have such powers.

    This Web accelerator! Duh,! I get flyers for domestic T3 fiber optic connections appearing in my area, [thanks to verizon], most users are into broadband, and most ISPs have similar tuned products already in place. I think this web accelerator to be project work of somebody that needs testing. I see some links failing in the Google page, hence Google has taken it out already I think.
    🙂

  8. lazy you had said
    “Last night, when I installed GWA and at clicked on this blog URL for numerous times, the traffic page was showing that the hits came from Google Inc, United States and not from my IP address”

    this is not true i think then it works even opposite to thr own product you knw thr adsense they track from whihc ip the hits came from according to your point you told it showed googles ip instead of ur IP address right if that is so then when you click the google ads on your machine then it means the hits came frm google’s IP right i dint think they would program something like this then everyone would start clicking on the google ads as thr IP will not be tracked .

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