Friday, January 9, 2009

Google Translate: Your Secret Proxy

WebbieStuffs has an article about Google's ever-improving translation service, now available in almost all Indo-European languages plus a few others. An interesting but little known service or by-product of Google Translate is you can also use it as web proxy.

Suppose you live in a country where everyone and his dog can go to a court and restrict access to a web site say, in Mauritius (I am not joking). Due to the government's (a fictitious government to the east of Bulgaria and Greece) short-sighted approach at the time of legislation and service providers' reluctance to make extra investment, nobody bothers to contact the web master enjoying the sunset in Mauritius and access to her site is blocked at a national level in a 10 minute court session.

Since not everybody has the technical know-how to find a working proxy and adjust their browsers' settings, here is a neat trick.
  1. Go to Google Translate page.
  2. Enter the offensive URL.
  3. If the offensive site is English and you want to view it in English, you do not have to change anything as the default setting "from Spanish to English" is just fine.
  4. Press "translate".
  5. You have just accessed a restricted site, much to the censoring authorities' pain and grief.
Do not tell anyone that you heard it from me.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Google translation is not a good option to be used as proxy and the same reveals your ip to the visiting sites.

Visit tracemyip.com
and http://translate.google.com/translate?u=tracemyip.com&sl=es&tl=en

and notice that both of them return the same ip address, that means google is not blocking your ip while translating the page for you.

Archiver said...

It is true that Google translate reveals your ip to the destination. However, here we use it to access a restricted site by your ISP, by a filter, etc. The translation service will access all blocked sites provided that there is no filtering on URLs.

Thanks for the reminder, though, as I forgot to mention your point which is the "real" use of proxies, hiding your identity from the sites you visit.

Your PC Info said...

Proxy sites hides your details from the site and also over rides ISP banning.

While google translator just over rides ISP banning.

Although the real intention of a proxy is used to hide your details from the site,the real main usage is only to over ride the local(School/College blocks orkut,facebook etc)or ISP banning.And google translator is much more safe to open blocked sites as your cookies are with you,whereas in a proxy site someone can easily get your cookie.

Archiver said...

True. Security is a big concern when using proxies. Unknown proxies are never meant to be used for safe communication, especially for traffic that requires exchange of passwords and other personal data. And that makes Google translator more valuable if your intention is only to access a restricted or banned site.

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