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Google Working On Web Accelerator Fix

Nathan Weinberg
Expert Author
Published: 2005-05-09

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C|Net reports that Google has confirmed that one of the problems with Google Web Accelerator ...

... in which cached copies of other users' web pages are served up, does indeed exist, and that it is working on a solution.

Link: Google speed bump draws scorn

Marissa Mayer, Google's vice president of Web products, said the company is working on a fix but downplayed the threat. "It looks worse than it is," she said. "We've cached the page with that user name on it. But you are not actually signed in; you couldn't operate as that person," she said, adding it has affected only a small number of sites.

The article goes on to speculate that Google is getting into the business of market research, something Google denies. Mayer says the purpose of Web Accelerator is to save users time, time they can spend searching Google even more.

If the tool can help someone save two or three hours a month surfing the Web, that person might spend more time searching with Google, Mayer reasoned.

"To date, we're not doing anything with this data in terms of market research. We have no plans, but should that change we would aggressively notify our users and give them some escape hatch," Mayer said.

To address the security flaw, Mayer said the company is deactivating the mechanism that caches vulnerable Web pages. Mayer said the problem happens only on a small number of sites, typically discussion groups, because those sites are not passing the proper no-cache header information. She said the company is also contacting Web masters to work with them on that issue. In addition, Google is looking at possible mathematical algorithms to prevent the caching from happening in the future.

Yet another contingent, Web designers, has criticized the application for deleting Javascript commands or pages of their sites within the software environment. That means that people using Web Accelerator may not be able to hit the back button to return to a previous page. Google spokesman Nate Tyler said the company is also looking into that issue.

Take all that whatever way you'd like. If Google is in the business of releasing productivity tools solely so that Google fans have more free time to use Google, that would be very surprising indeed. Perhaps we will soon see that Google lava lamps are actually soothing devices designed to make surfing Google a pleasurable experience, designed to be used in conjunction with Google toilets, which save you waste-disposal time, time that could be better spent on Google. Perhaps. (via Brad Hill)

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About the Author:
Nathan Weinberg writes the popular InsideGoogle blog, offering the latest news and insights about Google and search engines.

Visit the InsideGoogle blog.

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