About me
About me

Google Web Accelerator


Hold up! Before you read on, please read this...

This post was published more than 14 years ago

I keep old posts on the site because I often enjoy reading old content on other people's sites. It can be interesting to see how views have changed over time: for example, how my strident teenage views have, to put it mildly, mellowed.

I'm not a believer in brushing the past under the carpet. I've written some offensive rubbish on here in the past: deleting it and pretending it never happened doesn't change that. I hope that stumbling across something that's 14 years old won't offend anyone anew, because I hope that people can understand that what I thought and felt and wrote about then is probably very different to what I think and feel and wrote about now. It's a relic of an (albeit recent) bygone era.

So, given the age of this post, please bear in mind:

  • My views may well have changed in the last 14 years. I have written some very silly things over the years, many of which I find utterly cringeworthy today.
  • This post might use words or language in ways which I would now consider highly inappropriate, offensive, embarrassing, or all three.
  • Factual information might be outdated.
  • Links might be broken, and embedded material might not appear properly.

Okay. Consider yourself duly warned. Read on...

I fully understand why some people will find Google Web Accelerator scary… after all, you are effectively routing all of your surfing through Google’s servers, which gives them an enormous amount of information about you. But it’s very useful, and given how many people already know about almost every aspect of my life anyway, I have no problem with Google knowing a little more about me. So I’m using it. And recommending that you do too.

Edit: I’ve stopped using it again now – read through the comments to see why, paying particular attention here.

This 562nd post was filed under: Technology.

Some recently published posts

The Tyne Pedestrian and Cycle Tunnels: eight years on / January 2020, 8 minutes long

What I’ve been reading this month / January 2020, 7 minutes long

Faber Stories / December 2019, 4 minutes long

My favourite books of 2016 / December 2019, 26 minutes long

What I’ve been reading this month / December 2019, 12 minutes long

Some random old posts

West Wing axed / January 2006, 1 minute long

Famous pair face Big Brother boot / January 2005, Less than a minute long

Pope meets Hand of God? / March 2005, 1 minute long

Kids on Porn / November 2003, 4 minutes long

Summer Books: On Royalty by Jeremy Paxman / July 2008, 3 minutes long

Where will the next pandemic come from? / August 2013, Less than a minute long

Comments and responses

Comment from Anon E Mouse

by Anon E Mouse

Comment posted at 09:39 on 6th May 2005.

Have you thought about sending Google a copy of your tax return as well, since you appear not to care about your privacy?

Comment from sjhoward

by sjhoward

Comment posted at 11:17 on 6th May 2005.

As it happens, I don’t file a tax return… But that’s hardly the point. I don’t mind revealing to them information about the websites I visit – information which is already available to my ISP, and (on demand) to the police, not to mention university when I’m online there. It’s hardly secret stuff, and should I want to exclude Google from any of my web surfing, I’m free to do so – as is not the case with the other institutions. My tax return, on the other hand, is not public knowledge in the same way as my surfing habits are, and so I wouldn’t publicise it.

Comment from Anon E Mouse

by Anon E Mouse

Comment posted at 15:20 on 7th May 2005.

“I don’t file a tax return… But that’s hardly the point.”

But that is the point!

If you do file a tax return online, as more and more people are doing, and as the IRS prefers people to do, are you (and all the other people) using this spy in the browswer, going to remember to turn off the Google spyware before connecting to the web site to file your tax return?

And when you buy goods and services through your browser, do you want Google to know what you are buying, and presumably your credit card details which will pass through their software?

Comment from sjhoward

by sjhoward

Comment posted at 18:03 on 7th May 2005.

I don’t file a tax return – and if I did so online, it would be via a secure connection, as would shopping with a credit card, which does not pass through Google’s servers, whether the program is switched on or off.

Comment from Pathologically Paranoid Coward

by Pathologically Paranoid Coward

Comment posted at 23:04 on 7th May 2005.

“it would be via a secure connection .. which does not pass through Google’s servers”

How can you be sure of that?

Comment from sjhoward

by sjhoward

Comment posted at 00:59 on 8th May 2005.

I could use software to trace the connection between my PC and the host servers, but I’m not that bothered. Which only goes to show that they could indeed be watching my secure connections without my knowledge. So you probably have a good point – but I’m not going to stop using it.

Comment from Ethelred the Unready

by Ethelred the Unready

Comment posted at 02:49 on 8th May 2005.

Maybe you should read this article, and worry about who might be logging in as you on various accounts and forums —


Or there again, maybe you just do not really care, in which case you deserve whatever happens …

Comment from sjhoward

by sjhoward

Comment posted at 09:56 on 8th May 2005.

Now that’s a bit of a worry – but, presumably, it would only affect sites whereby passwords are cached, which means it could only affect forums and the like, not banking accounts. However, I’ve removed it for the time being anyway, at least until I hear that this glitch has been fixed (though, in fairness, I think it may already have been fixed, since my version numbers appear to have increased).

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