Google Web Accelerator

After spending last week look at a dial up Internet accelerator which wasn’t recommended for broadband I thought this week that I’d do the opposite and take a look at a similar piece of software designed for broadband but not dial up connections.

Google Web Accelerator although still in Beta format is an interesting piece of free software designed by the same team that have bought us so many other useful pieces of software over the past year.The idea is that you install a small piece of software which then makes use of Googles global network to improve the speed your pages load in several ways.

Such tactics include sending your page request through a dedicated network of machines designed for Google accelerator traffic, storing copies of recently viewed pages, downloading only the changed material in a page since the last time you viewed it, prefetching certain pages, managing your Internet connection and compressing data before it is sent to your computer.

Google accelerator takes literally seconds to install by visiting http://webaccelerator.google.com and once installed it will automatically keep itself up to date.I must be honest in saying that I didn’t notice a huge speed increase when I installed the software however I am currently sat on a 4mb/s Broadband connection so pages tend to load instantly anyway.

Once installed there are several settings that you can play around with to customise how the software works:

Internet connection: Google automatically assume that your connection is below 1mb/s however if it is above this then you should specify this here.

Prefetching: One of the things Google does to speed up your connection is to prefetch pages before you actually click the link.Then if you click a link the information is already on your computer so it doesn’t need to be downloaded.Obviously if you only have a limited download limit every month you’re not going to want to blow it all on Google prefetching pages that you might then not necessary read.

Clear your history: This deletes files stored in your web accelerator cache to clear your surfing history.

Don’t accelerate these sites: This option allows you to turn off Google accelerator for viewing specific sites which is useful if you have a problem with using the software on incompatible pages.You can also choose to temporarily disable Google web accelerator for whatever reason at any point.

The software includes a counter that supposedly shows you how much time you have saved waiting for pages to load whilst using the software although how accurate this counter is I have no idea.As mentioned at the start of this article the software is currently in beta test (unfinished) format and so independent tests on speed gain claims are unavailable at present.

One of the primary concerns with using this software is to do with privacy as the Google team will be able to see all requests for all unencrypted pages along with your IP address.If you fill in a form on such a page Google could also theoretically see personal details although it is worth bearing in mind that this is no more information than your usual ISP can see anyway although understandably this does worry some users.In reality a company such as Google would not ever use this data in any way so you should feel safe and additionally it doesn’t attempt to accelerate any secure websites so online shopping security isn’t compromised.

I would recommend giving the software a run though especially if you have a broadband connection which verges on the slow end of the market.I would appreciate any comments that you may have regarding this software and then perhaps we can do a follow up article when it comes out of the testing period.

About the Author – Chris Holgate works for Refresh Cartridges who supply a wide range of printer cartridges at the UK’s lowest prices.

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