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Why not to use Google Web Accelerator with WordPress

The Word Press forums have an interesting thread running with a warning NOT to use Google’s new Web Accelerator with Word Press.

In it they link to an article over at O’Reilly Radar which is a little frightening:

‘Some users of 37 Signals’s new Backpack web application started noticing yesterday that their backpacks had been rifled through and a page here and there had simply disappeared. A little digging found Google’s new Web Accelerator to be the culprit.

Writes Jason Fried:

The accelerator scours a page and prefetches the content behind each link. This gives the illusion of pages loading faster (since they’ve already been pre-loaded behind the scenes). Here’s the problem: Google is essentially clicking every link on the page — including links like “delete this” or “cancel that.” And to make matters worse, Google ignores the Javascript confirmations. So, if you have a “Are you sure you want to delete this?” Javascript confirmation behind that “delete” link, Google ignores it and performs the action anyway….’

Thanks to Tom Hanna for the heads up on this one.

About Darren Rowse

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Comments

  1. Nicole Simon says:

    Once you have given into the dark side ….

    Now we only need a combination of that Acc. with the bloglines problem with *think* Itunes? :)

  2. Andy says:

    Eww, Javascript confirmations. Never a great idea anyway…

    More reasons not to use GWA…

  3. jim says:

    These all seem like very obvious unintended consequences to be having for an app like this…

  4. The Ghost of PT Barnum says:

    Giggling Madly Here – PT Barnum Would Have Been So Proud!

    This is a great program for those users who don’t know anything at all regarding how computers and/or the internet actually works, and who just want to experience the “feel good illusion” of (not really) increased speed by having this entirely useless acceleration program on their hard drive.

    I always laugh out loud whenever anyone proudly exclaims: “The program ‘says’ I saved 6.9 hours, so I’m very satisfied!” Big deal; the program could also say: “You’re now twice as good-looking” or perhaps even “Congratulations you’re a millionaire!” Without being able to verify any programs’ “claims” (or better put: assertions) it is just that: A totally unverifiable assertion!

    Still you’ve got to admire Google’s chutzpa here! I’m guessing that it has to be the most hilarious bit of shell-game spyware ever invented by any company in the entire history of computer or Internet use and development.

    Very clever really, when you consider that the trade off is that users “think” they’re getting “increased” internet speed; in exchange for revealing exact the name of every single webpage that you ever visit from the moment that you install Google Web Accelerator until (hopefully) the moment you wise up and remove it.

    After Google Web Accelerator is installed it does absolutely nothing to improve browsing. Also Google Web Accelerator collects copies of web pages, (including prefetched pages that you did not even visit), in the Google Web Accelerator cache on your computer.

    All this does in effect; is collect and store a gazillion MB of temp files every time you use it for a session of surfing. Try using something like CCleaner after running Google Web Accelerator and browsing the internet for a few hours and see the results for yourself!

    And Google gets to know the exact the name of every single webpage that you ever visit for products, news, banking, whatever! This is very valuable information to have; not only does Google know everything you click on, but you get absolutely nothing in return for this info.

    Finally, Google admits on their own support page that any and all passwords, e-mail addresses etc. you enter in a web form (e. g. when purchasing an item online) will be funneled via their systems. If you enter personally identifiable information (such as an email address) onto a form on an unencrypted web page, the sites will send this information through Google.

    Had he lived long enough to see this, P.T. Barnum; the person who coined the phrase: “A Sucker is Born Every Minute” would most certainly consider those who download, install and leave this program on their computers to be suckers indeed!