loading
Picture of Use Google as a Proxy
Google has enhanced our lives in all sorts of ways, with voice apps, mail, maps, and so on.  But they also do the more mundane, such as Google Translate.

I've found that you can use Google Translate as a sort of lazy man's proxy/filter avoidance.  Where I work, we've got a web content filtering tool that, for the most part, blocks inappropriate content, but is most certainly not immune to false positives -- blocking stuff that's not in any way objectionable.  Maybe it's blocking on something as stupid as a word found in a URL, say, if you wanted to learn about some birds.  In my case, I was looking for some technical discussions related to my work, but my employer's network filtering app told me (erroneously) that it was a gambling site.
 
Remove these adsRemove these ads by Signing Up

Step 1: Visit Google Translate

Picture of Visit Google Translate
img02.jpg
Go to http://www.google.com/translate and try feeding it http://www.instructables.com/.  You might try translating from English to Spanish and you'll see this page.  I don't speak Spanish very well, so I can't tell  you how poorly this might be translated.  But point of fact:  I don't want or need the Spanish translation.  So now I suggest you instead click the radio button in the upper-right labeled "Original" which will lead you here.

Step 2: What have we accomplished?

Picture of What have we accomplished?
Of course we didn't really seem to accomplish anything  by asking a translation service to not translate a webpage.  But in truth, some of the content was proxied through Google's Translate service.  Using the Firebug Extension for Firefox, I was able to see that the request to see the front page of Instructables.com through Google Translate resulted in 26 HTTP requests, and only 3 of them were sent directly to instructables.com (2 for JS, 1 for CSS).  So, this isn't a bulletproof method of avoiding ALL requests to the "translated" domain, but most of the content did indeed go through Google's translation services.

But can we make it a bit easier to automate the usage of this tool?  Maybe a little bookmarklet?

Step 3: The Handy Bookmarklet

Picture of The Handy Bookmarklet
bookmarklet-link.gif
bookmarklet-in-action.gif
I admit my bias to using FIrefox.  I don't know whether this works in IE.  However, we can create a "bookmarklet" using Javascript.  My code is as follows:

javascript:(function(){var%20g='http://www.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=en&tl=es&anno=2&u=';var%20a=prompt('Which%20URL?');if(a){document.location.href=g+encodeURIComponent(a);}})();

Create a new bookmark on your bookmark toolbar, and in the "Location" field, paste the javascript code seen above.  Give it whatever name you wish.  Once you click on it, you should be prompted to enter the URL you want to view.

Step 4: The Caveats: Not a 100% perfect proxy.

As I mentioned in Step 2, this isn't a perfect proxy.  You can see that some style and script requests went through to the original website.  If you really, really wanted to, you could put the original site in a hosts file pointed to 127.0.0.1 on your Windows PC, but that's beyond the scope of this Instructable, and wouldn't account for changes on the originating site, such as moving scripts and styles to a subdomain or other related site that is also blocked.

I must emphasize that since this isn't a bulletproof solution to getting around filtering, it's wise not to use this to access content that you're really not supposed to get to, especially if you've got parents, administrators or employers looking through their filtering/proxying logs.  If you really want to visit Zombo.com or a taste of the original Hamster Dance, you'll have to do it on your own time from home.
jonny952101 year ago
My workplace must have it blacklisted as well. Didn't work for me.
This is awesome! :)
rimar20004 years ago
Thanks for the tip!
LankyDuke4 years ago
Interesting instructable here.
Unfortunately my workplace's filter already includes Google Translate into it's blacklist. It even clearly states its use as a proxy as a reason for avoidance.

Now, I don't know if this is a tailored list for my employer, or if they get their list from their filter client.
But your mileage may vary depending on which software they use.