File Under: Backend, Web Services

Google Launches a Public DNS Service

If you’ve ever looked at a common web technology, protocol, service or piece of internet infrastructure and wondered aloud if Google was working on its own better, faster version of it, rest assured that the answer is almost always, “yes.”

The company announced Thursday that it is launching a public domain name system (DNS) service. On the Google Public DNS project’s website, Google tells us why DNS matters to everyone:

The DNS protocol is an important part of the web’s infrastructure, serving as the internet’s phone book: every time you visit a website, your computer performs a DNS lookup. Complex pages often require multiple DNS lookups before they start loading, so your computer may be performing hundreds of lookups a day.

The company’s plan, in its words, is to make those lookups happen faster, more securely and without redirects.

To start using Google Public DNS, set your network controls for the heart of Google’s servers, which live at the very cool IP addresses 8.8.8.8 and 8.8.4.4.

There are also full configuration instructions for changing your “web switchboard operator” on the Google Public DNS docs page.

If you set it up, let us know how it performs for you.

Google will always swear it isn’t up to no good, but some feel this launch is clearly a move to collect as much user data as possible to use for ads, better traffic routing and, of course, improving search.

One thing to note: in the project FAQ, Google says it does not plan to release Google Public DNS as an open source project, and as of now, it is an experimental service with no software license agreement that is only designed to be implemented within Google.

Of course, the web already has a free, fast DNS service you can use in tandem with or as a replacement for your ISP’s DNS service. It’s called OpenDNS, and it offers more control over your experience than Google does.

As expected, the founder of OpenDNS is not taking Thursday’s news lying down.

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