I’m 23.3 minutes ahead of you

A few weeks ago I decided to try out Google Web Accelerator on my 4MB broadband connection and it seems I have saved 23.3 minutes of time so far by using it. Does this mean I am now 23.3 minutes into the future? Or does this mean I have 23.3 minutes to spend on something more profitable. What does it take 23.3 minutes to do?

When I was young I remember having difficulty quite getting the point of summer and winter time, ie ‘spring forward, fall back’. Which one meant I got an hour more in bed? I used to get quite anxious about having ‘lost’ an hour. What if I never got it back? What if I died with that hour less in my life? Would that mean I’d have died an hour early?

Google Web Accelerator does essentially the same thing as the Onspeed service I used for a year in the old days of dial-up. Instead of receiving content directly from a website, it is first routed to the provider’s servers, compressed, then forwarded to you where software decompresses it, the idea being that the difference in transmission time is negligible while the difference in processing time isn’t. Google Web Accelerator seems to use several techniques to speed up your connection such as (it says here):

  • Sending your page requests through Google machines dedicated to handling Google Web Accelerator traffic.
  • Storing copies of frequently looked at pages to make them quickly accessible.
  • Downloading only the updates if a web page has changed slightly since you last viewed it.
  • Prefetching certain pages onto your computer in advance.
  • Managing your Internet connection to reduce delays.
  • Compressing data before sending it to your computer.

Clever. And, the best thing about it, free, unlike Onspeed.

The only problem so far has been with Windows Update, which didn’t like it. But, in a similar way to pop-up blockers, you can simply tell the accelerator software not to accelerate specific web addresses. Sorted.

I have to say I haven’t really noticed that I’ve saved 23.3 minutes but I suppose I’ve been busy doing something else while saving that time. I just have to trust that the Google Web Accelerator isn’t lying.

I just realised, it took me about 23.3 minutes to write this blog post. So I saved enough time for one blog post, Google got a free plug, and you found out something new (I hope). Everyone wins. Except I am now living in the present. Or am I? It now says 23.4 minutes.

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