There and Back Again

Concerned about GWA

Some of you may have noticed Googles newest project, Google Web Accelerator. Its some sort of combination of web proxy/compression engine.

You might also have seen the Slashdot article about people having problems with it. Now I know i’ll never use it (I’ll keep my surfing habits private thank you), but if the problems linked from slashdot are true, everyone who makes web apps should be concerned.

It seems that google is randomly prefetching pages, and caching output as much as possible (more then they should?) and sharing it between users.

I’m not sure what the next step is, the gwa FAQ seems to imply that the web master can control what is prefetched, but the articles imply that google just fetches like mad.

Anyhow I’d be greatful if someone has found a report of what gwa actually does to post a link here, so I can decide if gwa needs to be blocked to keep it from messing stuff up.

After looking at the GWA feedback group I’ve come to the conclusion that its really doing some odd stuff with cookies which seems to break many features on forums apps like phpbb. It also seems to randomly prefetch on sites after you’ve logged in. So for the time being the only safe thing to do is tell everyone you know not to use GWA. If someone is running a forum you might want to add a blocking script.

One thought on “Concerned about GWA

  1. c drozdowski

    What comes to mind for me is the legality of such products. First, could caching then serving content be a violation of laws regarding copyright and/or redistribution rights?

    And what about this scenario- GWA caches and serves content from a website distributing child pornography. Should Google then be pushed onto the legal accountability stack?