Yesterday Google released a new project of theirs dubbed the ‘Google Web Accelerator‘. In a nutshell, you run all your web browsing traffic through a proxy at Google and in return you get increased browsing speed. Now, this sounds quite good, in theory, but this is where a concern of mine crops up. A post on Boing Boing pointed out the fact that all your browsing traffic is now semi-anonymous to the outside world (a side-effect of using a proxy) and this brings up an interesting point – Google may not be trying to be as helpful as they could be (disregarding any of the obvious massive privacy concerns).
Think about this: Google is primarily an advertising company (with some cool side projects that deliver ads to as many people as possible), which now hides an important fact (the user’s IP address) from other advertisers, keeping it only to themselves. Now, lets fast-forward a few years – 40% of the Web-browsing Internet uses the Google Proxy, that’s 40% of the ad-targetable public that it knows about and is keeping from other companies. And the sad part is that this practice could still fall under their “Don’t be evil” slogan – they’re not being evil to the customers, they’re just being sneaky to their competition.
Update The IP is passed along, as well. So says Boing Boing.