The software development team at Google has released a new beta product recently, known as Google Web Accelerator. The program is designed to aid the web surfing experience for broadband users through a number of web caching and pre-fetching techniques, along with a number of other network tweaks built into the program.
However, this is very much a beta release, which means all but the most adventurous might want to give the software some time to develop and improve. The main issue being reported on a number of sites involves private and semi-private information appearing on computers other than your own.
The problem lies in the fact that Google’s Web Accelerator tries to improve download speeds by saving a copy of data that you’re downloading from a slow server on their own faster servers. In that way the next person who needs to view the same web page you did gets the data directly from the faster server. However, while this is great for generic pages accessible to all, such as the front page of a popular news site, some information from sources like private message boards, may be saved as well and sent out if another user surfs to that same private resource.
Most web proxy software that does caching eventually develops a way to detect what should and shouldn’t be cached and distributed to other users, and I’m sure Google’s developers will overcome this problem as well, but I would also highly recommend not downloading and installing Web Accelerator until it gets further along in the development process.