I uninstalled the Google Web Accelerator this morning after reading that it has some serious bugs that compromise users’ logins to sites that use cookies for authentication. Basically, the proxies that the Google Web Accelerator connects to are not handling cookies properly and letting people access sites using other users’ cookies. (So I might visit, say, Yahoo Mail, and view someone else’s mail.)

There are also other ways that the product screws up user interaction with Web applications.

On another note, I’ve read a number of somewhat paranoid theories about why Google has created this product, but I haven’t read anything that really makes sense to me. The idea of Google keeping a log of every single Web site I visit is a bit unpleasant, though, especially when it’s theoretically possible for them to tie that not only with my Google searches but also my email inbox. I’m not anti-Google by any stretch of the imagination, but I think it pays to be mindful of how much information you give to any company.

Update: James Governor has an interesting post on viewing Google as a measurement company, which certainly dovetails nicely with the side effects of providing proxy servers to the world. I had forgotten that Google purchased Urchin, a Web analytics firm, recently.

Another update: Tristan Louis points out that Google’s Web Accelerator may be built to help Google grow its index. Very insightful.

Another update: Getting back to the issue of the prefetch features following links that alter or delete data, the real problem is misuse of the HTTP GET method. This is a problem Sam Ruby warned people about some time ago.