I’ve Saved One Hour in One Week with Google’s Web Accelerator

So far I’ve saved one hour with the Google Web Accelerator in one week.

After one week of release it would appear that, for the time being, Google has taken their controversial newly launched Accelerator down for download. On the Accelerator download website Google now has the following text, “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.”

I thought I’d use this one week anniversary to blog a little bit about my experience thus far with the Accelerator and to discuss my thoughts on the Accelerator technology. CNET also has a pretty comprehensive article out on the technology. Sorry, Jason (it is chump for CNET to say bad things about Engadget and blogs but they still do pretty good tech news).

Exactly one week ago, less than one week if you use the actual hours, I installed the Google Web Accelerator. Today I noticed that I’ve saved exactly one hour. This is on only one of my four PCs that I use, but I probably use this one more than any other.

Now admittedly I use the internet much more than many. By way of more comprehensive statistics, according to Google, on a broadband connection I’ve saved an hour loading up a little over 3,000 web pages (see chart below).

There have been a few speed bumps along the way. The first one that I noticed was that NewsGator Online, my RSS reader, was acting up with the Web Accelerator. For some reason it was showing my unread stories as read and this was annoying. However, all I did was use the “don’t accelerate this website” command on the Web Accelerator and now NewsGator works just fine. There were a couple of other sites that behaved funky that I can’t now recall but I did the same thing and this seemed to do the trick.

There has been some criticism out there about the Accelerator technology. On the one hand you get the typical privacy advocates and the tin foil hats coming out and telling you that this can’t be good. But on the other hand there have also been some voices out there that I really respect that have also been critical of the technology. Still on the other hand (my third hand), I’ve saved an hour. This is really relevant from a productivity standpoint. I am personally really excited about this third hand part.

Last Friday while listening to the Geek News Central podcast on they way home, podcaster Todd Cochrane expressed his concern about the tool and said he hadn’t installed it and suggested that we be cautious.

Om Malick has a post out called Google Web Accelerator Dumbness – Take Two.

Fred Wilson has a post out currently suggesting that perhaps Google may become the next AOL and points specifically to the Accelerator as another “AOL move,” and calls it a “walled garden approach” to the internet. Fred points to a post from Signal vs. Noise about how the Accelerator is not being a good internet citizen and how their technology wrecks havoc for other internet technology. Hey, at least they don’t have some little guy shouting out “you’ve got gmail!”

My response, and it may point out my ignorance and insensitivity, is, so what! I’ve saved an hour in a week. This is super meaningful to me personally and it’s difficult for me to grasp how Google not complying with other internet standards matters to me at all. The thing goes faster, that’s all that matters. Again, maybe I just don’t understand the criticism and maybe Google could have better communicated with the internet community but this is not going to stop me from using the Accelerator.

When new technology (not that this is even new technology, but big companies have a way of legitimizing and distributing software) comes along that makes thing work better (i.e. faster) then it’s up to the existing technology that gets stomped on to figure out a workaround. People will always in the end use technology that is better and faster, disrespect to the “?JavaScript confirmations?” be damned.

99.9% of the population has no idea what a JavaScript confirmation is. They do, however, understand the phrase, “this thing will make my internet go faster” — and this in the end is what counts.

Here is a mirror for those of you who still want to download the accelerator now that it has been pulled (Thanks, Rishi).