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 18.104.22.168 (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".
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.
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.