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Home » Hacking News » Google stops Web Accelerator

Google stops Web Accelerator

by Nikola Strahija on May 21st, 2005 Google has disabled downloads of its Web Accelerator software less than a week after introducing the service.

This was done because of the reports that the software was caching sensitive content, such as user control panels, to online forums.

The beta application is a free browser plug-in for use with IE 5.5 or Firefox 1.0 on Win 2000 or XP, designed to speed up online surfing. Google stopped downloads on 11 May first saying that the capacity limit of the trial had been reached.

The technology used information including data about user search patterns to pre-fetch and cache frequently requested content, thereby speeding access to web content. It wasn't long before privacy activists started raising questions of their own about the service.

Aside from giving Google unprecedented insight into user's surfing habits the application became unpopular for caching sensitive information, such as user control panels from forums. As a result surfers with the software installed reported they were getting logged onto forums such as as someone else. There's no suggestion that online banking records on other content from secure ecommerce sites was turning up in the cache. The disquietening behaviour seems to be limited to sites visited by many other beta users of the software.

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