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Google Businesses Mozilla The Internet IT

Google Prefetching for Mozilla Browsers 424

kv9 writes "A post on GoogleBlog reveals that Google has enabled results prefetching for Mozilla based browsers, which means that the top results of queries are being loaded in the background and pages will load faster. More info on the Mozilla Prefetching FAQ and the Google Webmaster FAQ"
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Google Prefetching for Mozilla Browsers

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  • Watch for this... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by grub ( 11606 ) <slashdot@grub.net> on Thursday March 31, 2005 @10:38AM (#12099521) Homepage Journal
    I can see employees being confronted for browsing pages they never actually looked at. An obvious example: innocently searching for info on the silly Vin Diesel movie "XXX" turns up a nice mix of Vin and pr0n in the top results. Presumably a mix of both are loading up in the background
    • Prefetching is one of those things that seems like a really great idea on paper, but doesn't hold up so well in practice [incutio.com].

      The problem is that you have things like 'rel=next' that expect the user to go to some next "logical" page, but no structure to a site to encourage that logic. You get people upping bandwidth costs and slowing down browsing time because the site maintainer THINKS they'll go to some next page but the site design actually ENCOURAGES them to go to some other, unrelated page.

      In OSS, a lot o
      • by argent ( 18001 ) <peter@slashdot[ ... m ['.20' in gap]> on Thursday March 31, 2005 @10:44AM (#12099599) Homepage Journal
        You get people upping bandwidth costs and slowing down browsing time because the site maintainer THINKS they'll go to some next page but the site design actually ENCOURAGES them to go to some other, unrelated page.

        There are extensive studies from third parties on what people look at and do when they search on google. And you know what, they found people tend to look at and go to the top result, and don't even glance below the top few results most of the time.

        I'd expect that a company with the means to do the necessary research wouldn't go about implementing this kind of hackish "feature set" until it had thought things through a little better.

        I'd expect that Google has better figures on where people go to from Google's search pages than anyone else.
        • I'd expect that Google has better figures on where people go to from Google's search pages than anyone else.

          I've always wondered about this. A lot of sites and search engines will have each URL point back to a redirect script on their site, so that they can track the clicks. Others will use some javascript to do the same thing.

          Google does neither, so how would they know what people are clicking on? It seems to me to be incredibly valuable data, especially for a search engine. They could weed out t

          • by slashkitty ( 21637 ) on Thursday March 31, 2005 @11:28AM (#12100035) Homepage
            They do put in click tracking links sometimes.

            For example if you search for: ~hot

            You'll get the tracking links. I think it's random on many searches, but on ~ searches, they always have it.

          • Re:Watch for this... (Score:5, Informative)

            by damiam ( 409504 ) on Thursday March 31, 2005 @12:57PM (#12101123)
            Google does use a redirect script, but only for a small percentage of sessions. And you probably wouldn't notice; they use Javascript to display the original URL in the status bar. (IIRC)
            • Re:Watch for this... (Score:3, Interesting)

              by smeenz ( 652345 )
              For the last several weeks at least, every google search I've done from work has had the click tracking links, and it never hides it on the status bar.

              This doesn't happen at home... but always at work, and it's not cached, because the response is dynamic (it is a search engine after all)

              For example, the first link returned from my work machie when searching for 'bob' (ignore the stupid space in the URL added by slashdot):

              http://www.google.co.nz/url?sa=U&start=2&q=http:// www.bobthebuilder.o

        • Re:Watch for this... (Score:3, Informative)

          by northcat ( 827059 )
          I'd expect that Google has better figures on where people go to from Google's search pages than anyone else.

          No. It doesn't have any way to know which result a user clicked. It doesn't link results to its own website which redirects to the actual website, like Yahoo does (or used to, haven't used yahoo in a while). Other than that, Google can't do a better job than anyone else.
      • This isn't for pages WITHIN a site, where determining what is 'next' may be problematic. This is for search results.

        Here there is a logical choice to prefetch, namely, the top search result. This just autoloads the page to which "I'm feeling lucky" points.

        I still don't necessarily like it, it wastes bandwidth. Yes, I know I can turn prefetching off in about:config, but most people won't.
      • PS... (Score:3, Insightful)

        by argent ( 18001 )
        PS: Google on "google triangle" and you'll see why they picked this page to prefetch...

        Though I'd like them to prefetch the "next search page" as well... at least, that would tend to speed up *my* googling. I'm probably atypical, though, if they don't do it...
      • Re:Watch for this... (Score:2, Interesting)

        by delymyth ( 17681 ) *
        I know people who sometimes connect with a 56k modem, and me myself, sometimes I connect with my mobile phone (GPRS, 10kb/sec max as far as I could see).
        It wouldn't be so nice to have bandwith sucked up by all those prefetching (and no, I don't want to change, neither the browser neither the Search Engine).
        • Re:Watch for this... (Score:5, Informative)

          by anethema ( 99553 ) on Thursday March 31, 2005 @11:03AM (#12099802) Homepage
          So turn it off in about:config, nothing lost.
        • I know people who sometimes connect with a 56k modem, and me myself, sometimes I connect with my mobile phone (GPRS, 10kb/sec max as far as I could see).
          It wouldn't be so nice to have bandwith sucked up by all those prefetching (and no, I don't want to change, neither the browser neither the Search Engine).

          It is for people like you that the created pre-fetching. If you actually click on what is pre-fetched, the page loads faster. If you click on something else-the pre-fetch is aborted. Nothing to loos

          • Re:Watch for this... (Score:2, Interesting)

            by delymyth ( 17681 ) *

            Of course, this assumes that you do NOT pay by the byte (as you might on a mobile phone). For a modem connection, it is OK. Also, it assumes that you have nothing going on in the background. If all you have running is Firefox, this is a good thing. On the other hand, if you have a torrent running in the background, then Firefox gets faster at the expense of the torrent.

            Luckily I "flatted" myself for GPRS (I have 400MB for 30 days at a flat rate), but it would be better if I can chose search by search if

      • by bfields ( 66644 ) on Thursday March 31, 2005 @10:58AM (#12099748) Homepage
        Prefetching is one of those things that seems like a really great idea on paper, but doesn't hold up so well in practice.

        The page you cite in support appears to be an argument specifically against prefetching pages with the rel=next attribute. As you say:

        The problem is that you have things like 'rel=next' that expect the user to go to some next "logical" page, but no structure to a site to encourage that logic.

        That's a flaw in firefox's prefetching logic, not in site-designers' use of rel=next, which was never intended to be used to indicate links the user was most likely to follow.

        In any case, google is actually using rel="prefetch", which *is* intended for that purpose. And google's use looks pretty sensible: "This tag is only inserted when it is likely that the user will click on the first link." From experimenting it appears that it's only used on some searches; e.g. the example they give is the first hit on a search for "stanford". So presumably they have fairly good evidence that a user is actually likely to click on such a link--I suspect they have enough data on this that they don't need to just guess.

        In OSS, a lot of the maintainers and coders are just "hackers" or college kids contributing bits and pieces of less broad knowledge over a bigger project team, not real software engineers who have been trained to really think through the consequences of certain design decisions.... I could see why someone at Google might think this is a good idea, but I'd expect that a company with the means to do the necessary research wouldn't go about implementing this kind of hackish "feature set" until it had thought things through a little better.

        I think you're making some huge generalizations here based on very little evidence.

        --Bruce Fields

      • by shaitand ( 626655 ) on Thursday March 31, 2005 @11:00AM (#12099762) Journal
        In commercial development, a lot of the maintainers and coders are just "hacks" or college grads, who know how to write a resume and interview well, contributing bits and pieces of less broad knowledge over a smaller project team, not real experienced software engineers doing what they want to do and who have the brains or inclination to really think through the consequences of all design decisions.

        "and it can really cause problems when so many people are moving from professional browsers to more amateur ones that test out these features in what they THINK is a mainly geek-oriented audience."

        Precisely what browsers are you referring to? Perhaps you would care to let us know which browsers your highness believes to be "Professional" and which he believes are "more amateur". In general, I would contend the latter are actually superior browsers and that is why people move to them. Every browser I know of goes through a development, alpha, and beta stage to test features before final release. Also, google is implementing this, not a browser.

        "I could see why someone at Google might think this is a good idea, but I'd expect that a company with the means to do the necessary research wouldn't go about implementing this kind of hackish "feature set" until it had thought things through a little better."

        Perhaps they do not use rel=next attributes and believe they have a bit more data at their fingertips than you do. Maybe, just maybe, you are the one who has not performed any research and google has in fact examined a great deal of data. Maybe that data even tells them that the number of people who continue to the top search results is staggering.
      • Not only that: many times I do a search on Google and don't want to actually open any of the search results. Either because:
        1) The preview text on the result already gave me the information I want
        2) I just wanted to check for the corret spelling of the word (did you mean..?)
        3) I just wanted to check how many results that search would lead to, or which sites would show up
        4) I might just be playing with Google (googlefight, googlewhack, etc)
      • by smallpaul ( 65919 ) <.paul. .at. .prescod.net.> on Thursday March 31, 2005 @11:05AM (#12099821)

        Your post is confusing. First you say that prefetching doesn't work that well in practice and present a link to Simon Willison's blog. But the blog says that prefetching is an "excellent feature" except for a couple of quirks in Mozilla's implementation. Google does not trigger those quirks so they are irrelevant.

        Then you go off on a tangent about how "real software engineers" think through their design decisions more than "open source hackers". This is totally contrary to my experience. I would more highly rate the software engineering of Mozilla against Internet Explorer, Unix versus Windows or Apache versus IIS. I could go through a long list of brutal design decisions in commercial software that did not hold up in the real world but I'll just mention Clippy and the Windows registry as two high-profile examples.

        Finally, it is Google, a commercial software services company that is the topic of the article. So your whole argument is self-defeating. Either Google doesn't conform to your vision of real software engineering or the feature is not really at odds with real software engineering.

      • not real software engineers who have been trained to really think through the consequences of certain design decisions.


        Sweeeeet jebus, this has to be a troll...or you've never encountered any software written by "real" software engineers that had made poor design decisions, in which case you should go spend $100 on lottery tickets because you are, obviously, the luckiest person alive.
      • Look out, look out, the sky is falling...

        so many people are moving from professional browsers to more amature ones ... whose maintainers and coders are just "hackers" or college kids ... not real software engineers.

        Yeah, everyone's gonna be a lot safer staying with IE, right? Certainly the track record on critical vulnerabilities should be a strong indication.

    • by Juvenall ( 793526 ) on Thursday March 31, 2005 @10:40AM (#12099538) Homepage
      To be fair though, it's never appropriate to search for Vin Diesel.
    • From the FireFox prefetch FAQ:

      Is there a preference to disable link prefetching?

      Yes, there is a hidden preference that you can set to disable link prefetching. Add this line to your prefs.js file located in your Mozilla profile directory:

      user_pref("network.prefetch-next", false);

      We are considering adding UI for this preference (see bug 166648); however, our theory is that if link prefetching needs to be disabled then there must be something wrong with the implementation. We would rather improve the

  • MSIE/MSN (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mirko ( 198274 ) on Thursday March 31, 2005 @10:39AM (#12099527) Journal
    Does somebody knows whether MSIE and MSN collaborate the same way?
    Anyway it could be obvious that Google tries to establishes such alliances against his main concurrent (besides Yahoo).
  • Padding? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Quixote ( 154172 ) * on Thursday March 31, 2005 @10:40AM (#12099542) Homepage Journal
    Would prefetching pad the click count for the ads that Google shows along the side? I know, the client (Moz) adds a
    X-moz: prefetch
    header, but how many server admins log this?
    • Re:Padding? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by nautical9 ( 469723 ) on Thursday March 31, 2005 @11:10AM (#12099855) Homepage
      If you're referring to the sites that google's adding the prefetch links for, then no - since there's no "clicking" happening for anything but the result page. If anything, the impression to click ratios will go down, because the page (and the google image ads on it) are being loaded, but the client will never click on it because he never saw it.

      If you're referring to potential click-fraud that a malicious site may do by adding a bunch of "prefetch" links on their page that points to the ad, I seriously doubt it, since no one but the client's machine knows what the links are (since I believe they're loaded at the time the image is generated).

      Perhaps an enterprising fraudster may write some clever javascript that waits for the google ad to load, and then generates the prelinks - but I doubt the browser would then notice the change and go prefetch them. Besides, it'd be easier to just make an invisible frame and set it's href location. But again, I doubt you can dynamically figure out what the google ad click URLs are with javascript alone.

  • This looks like it will be a really useful resource. Are there any other examples of the best way to do this? For other browsers. Also does anybody know of useful sites that list all these little known features that are available but never talked about?
    • This looks like it will be a really useful resource. Are there any other examples of the best way to do this? For other browsers.

      "Google uses a special prefetching feature in Firefox and Mozilla web browsers to provide this functionality, so results prefetching is not available in Internet Explorer or other web browsers."

      Now, is it really easier to post a question and wait for an answer than to just read the article?
  • Link is broken (Score:5, Informative)

    by KinkifyTheNation ( 823618 ) on Thursday March 31, 2005 @10:41AM (#12099548) Journal
    Replace the %23 with a # and the url will work.
  • by ... James ... ( 33917 ) on Thursday March 31, 2005 @10:41AM (#12099560)
    Slashdot kills the # character in the URL: prefetching faq [tinyurl.com]
  • but they seem very concerned. Why?
  • I'm on dial-up at home, and the last thing I want is to download 500K of pages I might not actually view.
  • by cyranoVR ( 518628 ) * <cyranoVRNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Thursday March 31, 2005 @10:44AM (#12099591) Homepage Journal
    Ever heard of the concept "one click and you're guilty?" [wired.com] Users of this feature who unknowingly perform a search that returns results containting offensive/illegal content may find themselves being prosecuted by local, state or Federal authorities...

    Proof of concept: Google caught in anti-Semitism flap [zdnet.com]. Replace "anti-semitism" with "child pornography" and you'll understand what I'm getting at...
    • by Rakshasa Taisab ( 244699 ) on Thursday March 31, 2005 @11:10AM (#12099851) Homepage
      Note to self; Remember to turn of network.prefetch-next when googling for "child pornography".
    • Even More Problems (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Valdrax ( 32670 ) on Thursday March 31, 2005 @11:23AM (#12099981)
      Forget the Feds, you're much more likely to get nailed by your IT department for this. I wonder if a user who was unaware of this feature and got fired thanks to links loaded by it could sue the Mozilla Foundation. I can just see some malicious little asshole putting hidden (via color) links in their webpages that download utterly offensive crap just to see if they can get someone fired. I especially expect this sort of thing from the same sort of Slashdot trolls who posted that infinite pop-up of gay porn thing in the Firefox Hacks story.

      I also expect that this will be abused by unscrupulous websites who want to run up their ad revenue by having people preload a page full of ads. Many people have already expressed concerns for those who have slow connections or who do not have unlimited access. This could also be used by spammers to verify people who are smart enough to have web-bugs disabled via cookie and image blocking on emails but who don't know about preloading if the Thunderbird people enable this in email (which would be foolish beyond belief).

      I just think this concept is a horrible idea.
      • by roca ( 43122 )
        > I also expect that this will be abused by
        > unscrupulous websites who want to run up their ad
        > revenue by having people preload a page full of
        > ads.

        They can already do this using hidden IFRAMEs, and it works on all browsers. Nothing new here, move along.
    • How many innocuous Google searches return illegal content as the top hit and have data suggesting to Google that enough people follow that first link that it should be prefetched?
  • by grandmofftarkin ( 49366 ) <3b16-ihd3@xemaps.com> on Thursday March 31, 2005 @10:44AM (#12099592)
    a href="http://www.google.com/help/features.html#pre fetch"
  • Link... (Score:2, Informative)

    by xtracto ( 837672 )
    Here is The working Google link [google.com]
  • I use FF in my job at a pharmaceutical company, and looking for some medical terms in Google can often bring up some results of sites I really don't want to be visiting (Well, not from work, anyway *ahem* )

    The last thing I want is for those pages to show up in the company's web access logs, so I think I'll skip this feature when I'm at work.

    • I use LaTeX heavily for writing documents, and there is a good chance that google searches will bring up some pr0n sites. Example: there is a command \enlargethispage -- I can imagine what results one would get while typing "latex enlarge" in Google.

      S
  • Ack! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 31, 2005 @10:47AM (#12099635)
    I'm using a modem you insensitive clod!
    • This feature is even more useful if you're on a modem, since you'd otherwise have to wait longer to get your content. If you have a broadband connection and a fast destination site, the service is less useful, but if you have a slow connection prefetching is all the better you, umm.. insensitive clod.
  • Comments (Score:5, Informative)

    by hendridm ( 302246 ) * on Thursday March 31, 2005 @10:48AM (#12099653) Homepage

    3. I want to block/ignore prefetch requests. What should I do?

    To block or ignore prefetch requests (from Google and other web sites), you should configure your web server to return a 404 HTTP response code for requests that contain the "X-moz: prefetch" header.

    Sucks for those of us on shared providers, I guess, who don't want this so our bandwidth costs don't increase.

    I wish they had an option in the Google preferences to disable this, as I don't need a slower connection. Fortunately, you can disable it:

    Yes, there is a hidden preference that you can set to disable link prefetching. Add this line to your prefs.js file located in your Mozilla profile directory:

    user_pref("network.prefetch-next", false);

    It would be nice if there was an option in Firefox prefs to do this so I don't have to remember it every time I reload.

    • What about via .htaccess? While I don't know if there is a way to block requested based on a header via .htaccess I would be somewhat suprised if you couldn't.
    • Re:Comments (Score:5, Informative)

      by justforaday ( 560408 ) on Thursday March 31, 2005 @11:03AM (#12099800)
      It would be nice if there was an option in Firefox prefs to do this so I don't have to remember it every time I reload.

      Doesn't changing this value on the about:config screen do that?
    • Re:Comments (Score:3, Informative)

      by slim ( 1652 )
      Something like the following ought to work in .htaccess

      SetEnvIf X-moz ^prefetch prefetch_deny
      Deny from env=prefetch_deny
    • I've kept my user.js from like a year ago. It has tons of little enhacements and speedups. Just create a user.js with all the settings you want, including network.prefetch-next false and just put it in the app dir for all your firefox installations. I recently went back to linux after a few year hiatus and it still works just fine. Burn it to cd even so you dont lose it.
    • The Right Thing to do here is for Google to extend .htaccess or robots.txt to allow the site author to specify whether a URL should be prefetched. Doing it at the server config or client level is just silly.
      • Not really, it isn't google that's doing the prefetching, your browser is. The correct thing to do is to have Firefox put the prefetching config in an obvious place in Advanced preferences.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 31, 2005 @10:50AM (#12099679)
    Only when google is confident that the top result is the one you want - the one link that the vast majority of people actually click - do they include the prefetch link for that one resource. Go and try it for yourself, and look for prefetch in the source. For the vast majority of searches, it isn't there. Only when looking for the authoritive resource (such as stanford.edu for "stanford") is the prefetch link actually there.

    Sure, their metrics might be off at times, but the way this has been implemented is definitely a good way, and will be very helpful for users of all browsers implementing prefetching (which currently is gecko-based only afaik, but could easily enough include opera and safari and such as well in the near future).
  • by dave7e9q ( 773402 ) on Thursday March 31, 2005 @10:50AM (#12099681)
    Type about:config ... then scroll down to network.prefetch-next ... double click it to "false" ... all done.
  • This is great! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Slashcrap ( 869349 ) on Thursday March 31, 2005 @10:53AM (#12099701)
    Unless :

    You have an ADSL line with a really stingy cap (for instance BT in the UK offer a cheap service with a 1GB/month cap). I'm sure their customers will be happy about downloading pages they won't read.

    You're a web admin that pays a lot for bandwith. I bet they'll be really happy that lots of people will be downloading their pages without ever looking at them.

    You're at work surfing through a proxy that does filtering / logging and there are some dubious sites that get pre-fetched for you. Enjoy getting sacked for something you didn't do!

    Well, I don't know about you, but I'm struggling to see any drawbacks to this great new technology!
    • Re:This is great! (Score:3, Informative)

      by n0-0p ( 325773 )
      The above post could only be considered insightful if you didn't read the article. If you look at how Google implemented this feature you'll see that, with a possible rare exception of the first point on certain searches, none of these arguments apply.
  • This could turn a google-bomb into an effective DDOS attack... have all kind of blogs set up a google-bomb against a website and link to an image off of the page. Then, when that link hits the top it gets hit automatically, as well as with every other blog (that scales the pagerank for pointing to the popular hit) that puts that picture up. Since they all get prefetched, the images will load up and that page will get nailed by 100x requests. Google will end up shutting this service down before long because
  • Is the prefetching working for anyone? I've done some simple searches and none of the pages at the top of the result list loaded faster. I looked at the code and there doesn't seem to be prefetch attributes on the links either. I tried .com and .ca, same thing.

    On a related note, I use a similar trick/hack with my photo gallery. When viewing an image at full size, the page loads up the next image wrapped around with a css display:hidden attribute so the browser fetches the next image without displaying it a
    • Re:Working? (Score:2, Informative)

      by tfountain ( 619557 )
      There's a Firefox plug called LiveHTTPHeaders which will show the requests/responses the browser is getting. Using this I can see that the browser only loads the HTML page for the prefetched page, not any associated images/javascript files etc. Because of this you'll only notice a difference if your browser caches the HTML file, and even then the difference in loading time is likely to be minimal.
  • RE: uhoh... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by fshalor ( 133678 ) <.fshalor. .at. .comcast.net.> on Thursday March 31, 2005 @11:00AM (#12099768) Homepage Journal
    So , that means if I *accidentidly* search for a pron related topic, or pron is definatly in the top responses from google, It gets downloaded without me doing anything?
  • by rhh ( 525195 ) on Thursday March 31, 2005 @11:02AM (#12099781)
    Not only could this get you in trouble by inadvertently downloading porn at work, but you could download even more incriminating things.

    Say for example you were searching for info on that convicted sex offender that moved into your neighborhood or searching for news on terrorist attacks. Prefetching could potentially have your computer downloading things you wouldn't otherwise download and that could get you in real trouble.
  • Now every 56ker is going to move away from google. Not to mention these crappy ISPs which limit your bandwidth per month..
    • read the mozilla prefetch faq... you can turn it off.
    • Re:Nice (Score:4, Informative)

      by KFury ( 19522 ) * on Thursday March 31, 2005 @11:34AM (#12100093) Homepage
      Now every 56ker is going to move away from google.

      Why?

      Lie the article says, Moz/FFX only uses bandwidth you're not already using, so it won't make any other operation slower, and if you're on a slow connection then prefetching a page saves you even more time than if you're on a fast one. What's the use case that would have you moving to the door?
      • Re:Nice (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward
        Lie the article says, Moz/FFX only uses bandwidth you're not already using

        no, it only uses bandwith _itself_ is not using.

        so it won't make any other operation slower

        yes, it can make everything else slower (IM, mail, P2P, updates, etc.)

        What's the use case that would have you moving to the door?

        slow connection, ISPs with bandwith cap, not wanting unwanted unvisited sites in your cache,

        But, you can turn it off in FF, but unfortunately not on a per site basis
  • by jonr ( 1130 ) on Thursday March 31, 2005 @11:08AM (#12099833) Homepage Journal
    I think it would make more sense if network.prefetch-next would be set to false by default. Then gearheads could turn it on if they wanted.
  • I've been googling, checking the source and my web proxy logs, and despite the fact that prefetching is enabled and it's not working.

    There's no attribute in the document that comes down from google, there's no Link: header in the response, and (most convincingly) there's no entry in the proxy log. Nothing else is being downloaded, so it's not the browser waiting for idle time. I think Google's just not really using prefetch right now, despite their claims to the contrary.

    This is under Windows Firefox 1.0
  • I wrote up a blog post describing how Google and Firefox are helping each other out.

    The link prefetching stuff that Google's using? It was developed by a Mozilla programmer employed by Google. Interesting times!

    http://www.jall.org/blog/2005/03/31/googlefirefox- cooperation-on-link-prefetching/ [jall.org]

    Or for more predictions on the Firefox/Google future in general:
    http://www.jall.org/blog/2005/03/19/googles-future -plans/ [jall.org]
  • At least for my queries. So prefetching the first result is a bit silly in my case.

    I do pretty specific queries.

    Nowadays my searches seem to turn up tons of mailing lists with the same messages.

    If I wanted mailing lists, I'd do the search in google groups...

    That said, the mailing lists sometimes don't show up in google groups...

    I think Page Rank is starting to fail. I'm not surprised actually. I'm actually surprised it worked for so long. Probably all that tweaking by the Google folk is keeping it mode
  • There is a way to disable it, but it requires manual modification of the javascript config for that user profile...

    The problem, especially with corporate users, is that you never know when google is going to return a work-unsafe document to a search. If your browser starts going after a porn site without your knowledge or consent, you still can nevertheless get in hot water with your company.

    Here is the remark in the faq regarding this issue:

    "We are considering adding UI for this preference (see bug 1666
  • Another concern (Score:4, Informative)

    by DaveJay ( 133437 ) on Thursday March 31, 2005 @03:16PM (#12102725)
    Other people here have already discussed the "you'll get in trouble from work/authorities for prefetching things on to your computer you don't even know you're loading" deal, so I won't touch that. They've also discussed the "You'll use more bandwidth" thing.

    Here's my complaint, from an entirely different direction: two years from now, is every default installation of Mozilla and/or Firefox going to require me to change a laundry list of preferences in order to avoid features I don't want?

    I mean, go ahead and put these features in, but don't activate them automatically: do what Opera does (asks if the user wants to activate a feature) or just leave them off by default, and add a menu option to turn it on.

    Having these things turned on by default is going to be an inconvenience going forward, and smacks a bit of elitist "we know what's better for your web browsing experience than you do" attitude, you know what I mean?

    At this point, I'd be thrilled with setting optional parameters like this to 'off' by default, and updating the default installation home page (visible on first execution of the app) to a page listing "Great optional features", along with buttons to turn them on and a quick note on how to turn them back off if desired.
  • by Chris Kamel ( 813292 ) on Thursday March 31, 2005 @04:09PM (#12103318)
    So what happens if you prefetch a page that stresses some vulnerability in the browser? Does it get to run even though you didn't really even browse to the page....
  • by danharan ( 714822 ) on Thursday March 31, 2005 @05:26PM (#12104287) Journal
    We could do set this on /., so when you click on a discussion, it automatically pre-fetches the article!

    Uhmm... actually, never mind

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