Web Accelerator Rears Its Ugly Head

22 comments

It appears that the Google Web Accelerator is once again available for download. After the first time GOOG released GWA on the public, you'd think they'd have learnt. It seems they haven't. Not only is it back, it's worse!

From the 37signals blog:

"In version 1.0, web masters at least had a fighting chance as the GWA identified its requests with a “X-moz: prefetch” header (as prescribed by Mozilla). Sure, everyone in the world had to change their web applications to fit Google’s vision of a perfect world, but at least they could.

Not so for version 2.0 of this virus. It ships with a brand new mutation: The header is gone! There’s now no way to identify a pre-fetch from a regular request, which means that it’s no longer possible to block the GWA."

UPDATE:
I'm seeing two different versions of the main GWA page. In IE and FF i'm getting "Download Now" and in Opera i'm getting "Thank you for your interest in Google Web Accelerator. We have currently reached our maximum capacity of users and are actively working to increase the number of users we can support." Anyone else? (In Opera I can still download GWA by visiting http://webaccelerator.google.com/dc.html )

Comments

If there is no "prefetch" header than why...

If there is no "prefetch" header than why is it still in the FAQ?

4. How do I differentiate prefetch requests from regular user-initiated requests?

Prefetch requests include an "x-moz: prefetch" HTTP header. Websites can choose to filter out prefetch requests in their server statistics, as well as reject prefetch requests, which would cause the request to be sent only when a user actually clicks on a link. Please read the additional FAQ below for more on how to differentiate prefetch requests in server statistics.

Just block the proxy IPs....

And pray Google isn't stupid enough to share IPs with Googlebot.

Still in the FAQ...

The googlites are notoriously slow in updating their written documentation.

This so called, 'web accelerator' is one of those things that once people figure out what it is really doing, they are going to get very very pissed off at google.

If the googlites had a set of balls and were 'really' interested in 'doing no evil' they would never have allowed this theiving software to be released. Google at the very least should allow Webmasters to opt out and/or put up a list of IP's that could be blocked.

But I think it is obvious that google is evil or else why release this WA program that steals property...

And on a different note; Why is google trying to steal all the books in the world????

IF ALL THAT AIN'T EVIL WHAT IS?

Evil is as Evil does...

Google Web Accelerator ROBS WEBMASTERS!

My web site has integrated advertising, such as sponsored links, incorporated into the text so that advertising blockers don't detect an ad server and block the ads.

Along comes Google's Web Accelerator to cache pages which then no longer register impressions on my site so I'm losing page counts and can't track impressions of the ads, and then they PREFECTH which arbitrarily does just the opposite in generating bogus page impressions and ad views.

They should be shot, that's all there is to it.

Proxy blocking still works

I just tested it on my network and Google Web Accelerator is effectively blocked following Fantomaster's technique.

Why do they insist on doing this kind of stuff?

Google, GO HOME until you learn to play fair!

Make your voices heard

I just posted a comment on Matt's blog, letting him know (in relatively nice terms) that I am blocking Web Accelerator and do not approve of what it is doing. I think others should do the same (but don't be abusive).

I know there are other Google employees who have blogs. We should start a grass roots campaign to let them know that this is not acceptable.

You all know what's next.

Just wait until they start injecting Autolinks into the content... Give it a year or so.

Autolinks

They do it already on most of the 'net, it's called ADSENSE.

Wake up and smell the bagel.

think of autolinks as

think of autolinks as adsense without the nuisance of paying a publisher

me thinks this will be a

me thinks this will be a required install for the WiFi package. :o

oh god, what a horribly

oh god, what a horribly likely theory :(

chills to the bone, doesn't

chills to the bone, doesn't it?

Web Accelerator STILL robbing webmasters!

film @ 11

Do no evil?

What a load of cock.

Yeah, let's call all the Google employees at home, too

> I know there are other Google employees who have blogs.
> We should start a grass roots campaign to let them know that this is not acceptable.

Sorry, that's just downright dumb.
1) With the possible exception of Matt, I don't know of ANY Googlers who are blogging AS Google Employees. The rest seem to be blogging about their personal lives, their random thoughts on technology, etc.
2) Do you really think that'd be a way to reach and persuade decision makers at Google anyway?

Seriously, it'd be about as fruitful AND respectful as cornering Delta flight attendants at the corner watering hole to complain about fare increases or scream that Delta lost your luggage on a recent flight. They're not in a bar to hear your gripes. They're NOT AT WORK AND NOT REPRESENTING THEIR EMPLOYER IN THAT CONTEXT.

Since y'all are so steamed about the Web Accelerator (I'm not fully decided myself, though tending towards not liking it), why not...
- Send in reasoned comments to labs+webaccelerator [at] google.com.
- Corner Google engineers at Google events to respectfully express your displeasure

And as for all the proxy-related complaints (uncounted ad impressions, etc.), isn't that already a huge issue with AOL and any other ISPs that use proxies? Not saying that that negates the concern, but... that part doesn't seem to be Google specific, eh?

why not GMail?

why not require it as part of gmail? Seems like a better way to get it adopted. GMailers don't seem to mind much.

Donwright dumb...

Quote:
1) With the possible exception of Matt, I don't know of ANY Googlers who are blogging AS Google Employees. The rest seem to be blogging about their personal lives, their random thoughts on technology, etc.
2) Do you really think that'd be a way to reach and persuade decision makers at Google anyway?

1). The ones I've looked at make it clear they work for Google. Dumb? Hardly. Brutal? Maybe. But no one forced them to work for a company that steals bandwidth, either, did we?

2) Yes, I do, since the campaign would clearly direct a LOT of open, public discussion at Google employees.

It's only fair that we declare open season on them for being thieves and scumbags, which is what they are when they release software like this.

It's just plain dumb to sit back and do nothing or criticize people for wanting to make an impact on Google's public figures.

I already tell my visitors to complain to Google about the Web accelerator, but my suggestion is directed at Webmasters who feel frustrated at the occasional complete stupidity exercised by the Google employees who come up with these dumb ideas in the first place.

I've been a public spokesperson for a software company that used to regularly piss off its customers. There were days when I walked into the President's office and said, "Hey, these people aren't happy."

If nothing else, I made sure people at the company knew the customers were not happy about dumb ideas.

Maybe some of the Googlers care enough about the Web community to pass on the info.

One would hope they are not totally irredeemable in their greed.

Maybe some of them feel contrition and care about the harm they inflict on Webmasters.

Give them a chance to show their true worth. Don't just assume they want to hide behind the flag of "Hey, this is my personal blog and I don't want to know about your problems with the dumb ideas I help promote and support."

No need to blogcomment me..

I read over here, Michael; no need to leave a comment on my blog if you have an opinion. :) I just emailed someone here to ask if the 37signals post is correct.

Matt, I appreciate your courage

I really do. I downloaded the Web Accelerator today and tested it on my domain. I've got it blocked for now.

But I've got over 30,000 pages of static content. More than 100,000 pages of dynamic content. All well-linked.

And Google sends me 25-30,000 visitors a month.

I'm sure you can imagine what that would do to my bandwidth. This project should never have gotten off the ground.

But I'll listen quietly if Google wants to underwrite my hosting fees....

I heard back about GWA

There was an issue with one type of prefetch. They were already pushing a change. The header should be fully resumed soon (maybe by the end of today?).

Matt ..

what about the javascript on load .. into the msi ... thats not nice.. the click here to download is fine ..

DaveN

Got some folks,

a lot smarter than myself looking at the WA. We are looking for an easy way to block this program.

Hey Matt, why no opt-out for the property(website) owners? All this bad press about the WA is killing you googlites where it counts - TRUST...

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