Now that its mastered loading search results in fractions of a second, Google has opened up its massive computing power to the masses with one goal in mind: to speed up Web surfing. The company has released the Google Web Accelerator, which routes browser activity through Google machines to make Web pages load faster.
Google Web Accelerator employs a number of different methods to speed up Web browsing, including caching frequently looked at pages to make them more accessible. Google will only refresh a Web page when it has been updated, saving the user from reloading content when unnecessary.
The application only benefits broadband users, Google says, because it utilizes techniques such as prefetching, which involves downloading a Web page that Web Accelerator assumes will be visited—such as the top search result—even if it is not. Google has implemented similar functionality on its Web site for Mozilla Firefox users.
Google admits there are some potential privacy concerns associated with the application. Although it does not handle requests for secure sites, cookies and passwords submitted via an unencrypted Web page, may be temporarily cached by Google. The company has setup a privacy page specific to the new application that outlines what information is collected.