Google has become a relentless machine pumping out new products and services at dizzying speed. I absolutely love how they go about it. First the stuff appears in Google labs. Then they go beta, and finally they're released. At every stage the Google geeks can test-drive the service, tweak it, optimize it, integrate it, or perhaps even discard it if they don't gain traction.
One of the newer products offered is Google Web Accelerator (GWA). It had been open for download for a while, but it was yanked offline citing too many users. the GWA home page is in some sort of a limbo now and sometimes it redirects to the Google toolbar's page, but GWA can still be downloaded from a number of other sites. Google it up if interested.
I recently downloaded it from one of these sites and gave it test run. It looks like a speedometer with a needle, sitting in the tray and the browser toolbar. The needle moves as the browser is used, indicating activity. A small text proclaims the amount of time saved using the tool. The idea behind GWA is simple, even though the implementation is a bit involved. Since Google has so many web pages cached in its distributed servers, it could rush content back to the browsers faster than the actual web sites can.
Making all of this work is a little proxy installed by GWA on the PC that attempts to pull content form the Google cache as the user browses to various sites. So far GWA claims to have saved me 15 minutes, but I don't have a sense of faster browsing yet.
I suppose GWA can be called a great innovation by a company that can leverage its massive cache content to facilitate browsing. But GWA also has some adverse effects. I'd discuss that in my next entry.
The GWA's home page is http://webaccelerator.Google.com/.