Google Web Accelerator: Hey, not so fast - an alert for web app designers 06 May 2005
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Google’s web accelerator seems like a good thing for the public web, but it can wreak havok on web-apps and other things with admin-links built into the UI. How’s that?
We discovered this yesterday when a few people were reporting that their Backpack pages were “disappearing.” We were stumped until we dug a little deeper and discovered this Web Accelerator behavior. Once we figured this out we added some code to prevent Google from prefetching the pages and clicking the links, but it was quite disconcerting.
This wouldn’t be much of a problem on the public web since it’s pretty tough to be destructive on public web pages, but web apps, with their admin links here and there, can be considerably damaged. If you have a web app, it might be worth returning a 403 when the HTTP_X_MOZ is set to “prefetch” header is sent. This will keep Web Accelerator from clicking destructive links. Here’s an FAQ on prefetching for more information.
Update: If you use Ruby on Rails for your web-apps, here’s some code to just say no to Google Accelerator.