Will Google Public DNS become a valuable commercial data mine?

happygeek 0 Tallied Votes 477 Views Share

Depending upon the level of your paranoia, Google is either attempting to take over the online world or simply trying to make it a better place in which to work and play. This latest announcement does nothing to clarify these already muddy waters. "As part of our ongoing effort to make the web faster" says Google Product Manager Prem Ramaswami "we're launching our own public DNS resolver".

DNS, the Domain Name System that converts domain names that humans are happy with such as www.daniweb.com into the Internet Protocol (IP) numbers such as (type it into your browser and it will take you to www.daniweb.com as if by magic) that computers like.

For the most part, the average user doesn't give any thought to DNS as it's one of those behind the scenes technical things that make the Internet work. There isn't any need for the average user to even know that DNS exists, let alone how it works or who holds the key to the IP kingdom. But these databases that form the address book of the Internet are hugely important. Which is why DNS distributes the responsibility of how the domain names are assigned and mapped to IP numbers to particular trusted and authoritative name servers for each top level domain. The system works, and on the whole it works well, by being a distributed and fault tolerant beast.

It has to be, otherwise the Internet would simply crawl to a halt under the strain of the hundreds if not thousands of DNS lookups we all make each and every day. So if it ain't broke, why is Google trying to fix it?

Ramaswami argues that complex pages requiring multiple DNS lookups before they start loading can "slow down the browsing experience" and that the Google approach is being tweaked in order to "make users' web-surfing experiences faster, safer and more reliable".

Google certainly thinks it will be safer, arguing that it will provide numerous security benefits over existing services which have had their moments and near misses in recent times.

And Google certainly thinks it will be faster. "The goal of Google Public DNS is to benefit users worldwide while also helping the tens of thousands of DNS resolvers improve their services, ultimately making the web faster for everyone" Ramaswami concludes.

It is not a conclusion shared by everyone. Privacy advocates are concerned that by handing over Internet address resolution to Google in this way, taking that away from the ISP, could leave the search giant with the potential to get even more data about where people go when they are online. Google has tried to offset some of these concerns by setting up a privacy policy for Google Public DNS which promises to delete the temporary logs containing IP addresses within 48 hours. The company also points out that the service will not be an authoritative name service and not a top-level domain service either. It's just an alternative, a faster alternative, for those people who want to try something different.

I'm not too worried about it myself, not least because I doubt it will prove that successful for one very good reason: reconfiguring DNS is just too much of a hassle for all but the most determined of users. Some have argued that it will likely be the default DNS for the Chrome OS in 2010, and that will speed uptake. But that presumes that Chrome OS will have a great impact in the market, and that itself is questionable.

I'm more interested to see how the Internet Corporation of Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) responds, and the impact of Google just making such an announcement as this will surely muddy the highly political waters upon which the whole concept of Internet governance floats.

sknake 1,622 Senior Poster Featured Poster

I think this is a bad idea for users to start adopting. I don't see an added benefit from using Google's DNS. Here is an email I sent to a colleague this morning:

News: http://www.pcworld.com/businesscenter/article/183638/google_launches_alternative_dns_resolver.html
Technical FAQ: http://code.google.com/speed/public-dns/docs/intro.html

I read the technical FAQ and the big DNS daemons out there provide these security features and miscellaneous “improvements” today. I do not see any benefit of using Google’s DNS servers over your ISPs. Plus the ISP nameserver is inherently faster since you have to connect through their network to get to the internet.

Much like becoming a registrar though this will give Google more visibility to what you do on the internet. This will give Google access to millions of unpublished DNS entries records on the internet for internal company sites, new sites that just launched, or just about anything. Even non-HTTP web addresses.

Google will take over the world… it’s just a matter of time……

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