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Google Web Accelerator Raises Worries

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The new Google Web Accelerator released earlier this week is raising concerns about data privacy and webmaster issues.

Much Controversy Over Google's Accelerator from Nathan over at Inside Google looks at how the Something Awful forums found that the tool seems to have cached forum pages personalized for a particular user. In other words, those using the software came into the site as if they were logged in as someone else. If true, that's pretty worrisome.

Inside Google also raises the specter of how the software is helping Google keep a record of what everyone does, which it might datamine in various ways. Sure, that's a valid fear. But Google hardly needs Web Accelerator to do it. It already has millions of people using its Google Toolbar. For years, the Google Toolbar has given Google records of what people are looking at all over the web. So monitoring what people do on the web isn't anything new, for Google.

The article touches on issues of how the accelerator might injure site stats, providing some links to disabling it if you are a webmaster. Nathan also suggests that people won't do this, because Google will probably use accelerator data to help rank sites. Ban accelerator, and you'll ban what Google knows about your site -- and potentially then lose rankings.

I wouldn't worry about that at all. Sites have already banned Google from caching their pages and still done well despite this potential big red flag. Don't want accelerator caching your site? Go ahead and ban it.

Nathan's had further posts touching on other issues:

Google Blogoscoped highlights another issue in Google Accelerator Deleting by Prefetching, while Threadwatch points to Fantomaster's How To Block Google?s Web Accelerator page.

Want to discuss? Visit our forum threads:

Postscript: News.com's FAQ: Hard facts about Google's Web Accelerator does a Q&A on some of the issues involved with the software.

 


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