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January 30, 2009

Google Web Accelerator Discontinued

Last year, Google removed the download link from Google Web Accelerator's homepage as a sign that the product is no longer supported. Web Accelerator was a Labs experiment launched in 2005 that intended to speed up web browsing by prefetching content and downloading cached web pages from Google's servers.
Google Web Accelerator uses various strategies to make your web pages load faster, including:

* Sending your page requests through Google machines dedicated to handling Google Web Accelerator traffic.
* Storing copies of frequently looked at pages to make them quickly accessible.
* Downloading only the updates if a web page has changed slightly since you last viewed it.
* Prefetching certain pages onto your computer in advance.
* Managing your Internet connection to reduce delays.
* Compressing data before sending it to your computer.

The product was designed for broadband connections and it was only available for Windows. Web Accelerator became famous for a security problem: the software transferred unencrypted cookies to Google servers, which were cached and then sent to other Web Accelerator users. Even though the issue was fixed in the next releases, Google Web Accelerator was quickly forgotten and few people noticed that it didn't work well in Firefox 3 and it blocked YouTube videos.

Instead of updating the software, Google decided to discontinue it. "Google Web Accelerator was a great experiment which provided us with a lot of material for developing future products to serve our users," explained a Google spokesperson in October 2008.

Note: you can still download Web Accelerator from Google, but the caching service no longer works.

This blog is not affiliated with Google.