Friday, May 06, 2005

Web accelerator needs a good discussion...

Ok - My previous post just reported the release of the "Web Accelerator" from Google. Now this one - actually goes a little deeper.

In the meanwhile, two basic problems have been reported from regarding this piece of software.

Firstly, as pointed out in the comment from Anshul on the previous post - there was a case, where someone went to a forum's website - and realized that the set of pages he was viewing were from somebody else's profile - this was deemed as the "privacy" (this term is really getting over-used and abused) issue.

Second problem is a more technical problem - and I find that interesting. It seems to be creating problems for web-apps and for sites which have admin controls built into the page UI. The GWA basically goes through a page and tries to prefetch the content behind every link. This essentially implies - that Google is clicking through every link on the page - Now imagine a web page with links like "Remove this" or "delete profile"..!! And it turns out, that even if you have a Javascript confirmation page for such a link - Google simply ignores it. So this isn't good news.

But if we look into this a little deeper - we realize that the problem is not GWA's fault. The GWA prefetches only those links which issue a HTTP GET request and NOT those which issue HTTP POST requests. According to standard HTML recommendations, any data changes - like the links above - should be issued only as POST requests. So if the webmasters fail to comply with HTML recommendations, there is little that GWA can do.

Now coming to utility. I have been using GWA for a day - haven't seen much of a speed improvement - but haven't come across any of the above mentioned problems either. But, as I have personally worked with web caches before - I can tell you that the effect of such software increases with the time you have it on your machine - So am not giving up on it till I have given it a good shot.

Oh yeah.. also about the forum problem - it can very well be a problem in one of the forum's own links - so I won't jump to conclusions about "privacy" issues as yet. I would like to hear more complaints.. Ok at least one more issue like that before I agree.


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