Google has launched a new tool that has been designed to increase the speed of a users broadband connection. Called the Google Web Accelerator, the new downloadable application will supposedly use the power of Google's global computer network to allow pages to load faster on a users machine.

Google Web Accelerator uses various strategies to make your web pages load faster, including: 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 and compressing data before sending it to your computer.

To use Google Web Accelerator, your computer must have a Windows XP or Windows 2000 SP 3+ operating system. Google Web Accelerator works for the Internet Explorer 5.5+ or Firefox 1.0+ browsers for others such as Opera you will have to manually configure your proxy setting.

Users of the application will be able to see how much Time they've saved using the software.

There are some privacy concerns however and Google will receive your requests for unencrypted pages (those with "HTTP:", not "HTTPS:", at the beginning of the URL), along with information such as the date and time of the request, your IP address, and computer and connection information. If you therefore enter personally identifiable information (such as an email address) onto a form on an unencrypted web page, some sites may send this information through Google. Whenever your computer sends cookies with browsing or prefetching page requests for unencrypted sites, Google will temporarily cache these cookies in order to improve performance.

In order to speed up the display of pages generally, Google Web Accelerator may store copies of web pages, including prefetched pages that you did not visit, in the Google Web Accelerator cache on your machine. This is separate from your browser's cache, which only identifies pages that you actually visited.

Unfortunately you will need to have a broadband connection as Google Web Accelerator is currently optimized to speed up web page loading for broadband connections rather than those on dial-up.

Visit a href="http://webaccelerator.google.com" target="_blank">http://webaccelerator.google.com to download and install the Google Web Accelerator.