Normally when you view a web page, your computer’s browsing software makes a connection to the destination server, downloads the page’s data, and displays it for you.

This would normally be the preferred way of doing things, but occasionally you’ll find yourself on a work or school connection that disallows you from connecting to certain web sites. In these scenarios, what you need is a proxy. A proxy is a server or service that will connect to the blacklisted server on your behalf and send you back the results.

Now, you still need to directly access the proxy server, so it’s important that it’s not on the blacklist itself. It’s very interesting that Google, a host unlikely to end up on most blacklists, has a couple of tools that can essentially act as a web proxy!

Google Proxy Trick #1
The first tool is Google’s translation service. This service will dynamically download and translate any web page you request, and if you specify the “to” launguage as English (or your desired language), Google Translate will just spit out the destination document, acting as a simple proxy. Note that you used to be able to set the “from” and “to” language both as English to ensure no translation, but this feature seems to have been removed. However, I’ve found that if you specify Chinese to English (or anything to english) on an already english document, you usually get the exact text. The bonus of using the Chinese filter is that you can hover over any text and it’ll give you the exact original text.

Just replace www.myspace.com in the URL below with a blocked site to see:
http://www.google.com/translate_c?langpair=zh%7Cen&u=http://www.myspace.com/

The only problem with this is that it doesn’t proxy any of the images for you. Those are still coming directly from the destination server, so they will likely be filtered and all you’ll see is the page text.

Google Proxy Trick #2
The second Google tool that can be used as a proxy service is the Google Wireless Transcoder. This service was designed to make web pages viewable on mobile phone browsers. It will download a destination site’s web page, including images, and rework the entire page, on the fly, to fit into an average cell-phone’s screen space.

To try it out, go to http://www.google.com/gwt/n and enter the url you’d like to view. You’ll quickly see that most of the page formatting has been stripped out, leaving a very simple, single-column page. You’ll also notice that all the images are scaled down to mobile phone optimized size. It’s a bit of a downside, but google is actually downloading and sending the scaled versions from a google server. So, if you’re on a blacklisted site, you’ll still be able to view images – they’ll just be smaller than usual.

On the plus side, I’ve found that 99% of MySpace templates look better using the Google Wireless Transcoder.

Update (my poor memory):
I have the long term memory of a goldfish. It looks like Brian Sawyer wrote about this back in January –Link. He also linked to another article on the topic of bypassing a blocked myspace connection, which I’ve also included below. Thanks, Brian!

Related: