Google is now the top public DNS provider in the world

Google is now the top public DNS provider in the world

Summary: Google is the number one public DNS service in the world - should you be worried?

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When Google Public DNS launched in late 2009, it was only ever supposed to be an experiment. But yesterday, Google announced that it's now the most popular public DNS in the world, handling over 70 billion requests per day.

To use Google engineer Jeremy K. Chen's own simile, as expressed in the official blog entry, DNS - short for Domain Name System - is like the Internet's phone book. When you put a URL into the browser, the DNS service looks it up and matches it to an IP address. Google Public DNS aims to be the most complete, fastest, and most secure listing of its kind out there for users all over the world.

In fact, Chen writes that 70 percent of Google Public DNS traffic comes from outside the US, thanks to existing nodes in North and South America, bolstered support in Europe, and all-new nodes for regions like Japan, Australia, India and Nigeria.

Of course, Google critics are wondering what good could come of the search giant having access to even more user data - in this case, a log of every single website that Google Public DNS visitors go to, all day, every day.

Now, Google says that it "never blocks, filters, or redirects users, unlike some open resolvers and ISPs," but, well, here's InformationWeek's rock-solid summary of its privacy policy:

Google also maintains a separate privacy policy for Google Public DNS. The company says it maintains two sets of server logs related to the service: temporary and permanent. The temporary logs contain user IP addresses and those are deleted in 24 to 48 hours (barring a court order to the contrary). The permanent logs, which contain city-level location data but nothing personally identifiable, are retained for at least two weeks. A small random sample taken from the permanent logs is kept indefinitely.

It's still unclear if Google Public DNS' privacy policy will be streamlined into Google's streamlined, unified document that's going live on March 1st, but regardless, it seems extremely likely that Google will stick to its guns as far as not sharing that data with anyone else. And on a slight tangent, I highly doubt that we'll see Google Public DNS added to that unified privacy policy, given the comparatively unique legal precautions it's already caused Google to take.
In the final analysis, the measure of how okay you should be with Google Public DNS and its privacy implications depends on whether or not you feel like Google is, in fact, evil. In the meanwhile, Google's holding the line that it protects user privacy at all costs.

Topics: Browser, Google, Networking

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  • RE: Google is now the top public DNS provider in the world

    In a world were Google is mostly used as a verb instead of a noun, its possible that this could turn into some sort of Orwellian nightmare as absolute power corrupts absolutely. But it's likely that we won't find out until well after its happened.
    kmorschauser
    • RE: Google is now the top public DNS provider in the world

      @kmorschauser
      > It's likely that we won't find out until well after its happened.

      The real concern, succinctly put.
      x I'm tc
    • RE: Google is now the top public DNS provider in the world

      @kmorschauser
      Aren;t you mistaking this with the proposed merger of Glencore (evil commodoties trades/speculators) and Xsrtrarta (evil mining) to produce a start on your Orwellian MegaCorp..
      neil.postlethwaite
  • OpenDNS is a good, free alternative DNS provider

    Google's use of the phrase "unlike some open resolvers" is a direct arrow at OpenDNS, which is a very, very nice service. For those who might feel uneasy about Google, take a look at OpenDNS.com.
    glnz
    • RE: Google is now the top public DNS provider in the world

      @glnz So you're saying that service DOES "blocks, filters, or redirects users"? Ummm...no thank you.
      jvitous
      • RE: Google is now the top public DNS provider in the world

        @jvitous

        IF you want it to. I've used Google DNS and OpenDNS, and I use and prefer OpenDNS.
        bigjon-x64
      • He never said that....Please read again.

        @jvitous

        He stated that if you wanted another alternative, you could use OPENDns....I do. If you want the option to filter sites, you can also set that up if you so desire. The choice is yours.
        linux for me
      • RE: Google is now the top public DNS provider in the world

        @jvitous Not by default. It offers you the ability to filter web sites on a black list, redirect URLs (so you can make your own short URLs for frequently visited sites), and redirect to custom branded search pages when it can't find a URL. There's uses for this for both consumers and companies - all of the companies I'm in charge of use OpenDNS, partially for these reasons, and partially just because they are a very fast, very reliable DNS service.

        Of course, if you don't want any blocking, filtering, or redirecting, you shouldn't set those up, and then you just have a very fast, very reliable DNS service. That's how I use it at home.
        chadness
      • RE: Google is now the top public DNS provider in the world

        @jvitous- I didn't get that fromwhat glnz wrote. I've been using OpenDNS for quite a while and haven't noticed a single problem with it, yet... And I just have an aversion to Google products ever since my isp moved their mail service to gmail and I found myself being signed up by Google for multiple services in which I had no interest in at all (I no longer use my isp's email service, so that problems gone).
        xplorer1959
    • RE: Google is now the top public DNS provider in the world

      @glnz So do OpenDNS redirect me and block some services. If it does then it not really open is it?
      Knowles2
      • OpenDNS does not block as far as I can tell

        @Knowles2 and jvitous
        I've never noticed that OpenDNS blocks anything although it has an optional security service for parents and schools. But I'm not a techy. Please check them out and put a note here if you see anything. I've been using OpenDNS as default DNS service in my home modem-router for at least three years, and nothing has ever been blocked in my surfing experience as far as I can tell.
        glnz
      • RE: Google is now the top public DNS provider in the world

        @Knowles2 It provides a service where YOU can proactively decide either on a level of blocking or categories of websites to block. You can also decide to block no types.
        tbuccelli
  • RE: Google is now the top public DNS provider in the world

    Asking a question - one prefers a Open DNS over Google (4.4.4.4 & 8.8.8.8) - I am a bit of a techie but not a System Engineer kind of a techie. What standards would you use to prefer one over the other. Personally I switched to Google when Comcast blew up last year. I type in an address and it shows up - happy days for me and my users. Is there a better test or standard then that for a DNS Service?
    geffert
    • RE: Google is now the top public DNS provider in the world

      @geffert@... There's actually apps that can benchmark DNS servers. The fastest ones should be the ones you use, as long as they fit your criteria (not blocking things you want).
      Natanael_L
  • RE: Google is now the top public DNS provider in the world

    Why should I care? It's not like they are going to sit down and look through the logs to see what I'm doing. HOW many people do they serve? HOW many accounts do they have? Pleeeeas... I'm not that important - not now, not ever. As long as I can get the information I want, I don't care who knows. Besides, sometimes I just browse weird sites, just like I browse my public library - if you want to follow me around there as well, go for it. It's like HIPPA - you wanna know I'm crazy and on meds and may be suicidal from time to time. Or maybe I've served time for trying to kill the president. Or have 57 speeding tickets... Who has the time or inclination to wade through the B.S. that is my life. I say, if you are really fearful, overload the system. If everyone created so much contradictery information about themselves - who's to say who the real you is. Is you were a member of the SDS and the John Birch Society, if you sign up at both pro and anti anything sites, if you have 25 different personas all rolled into one, of what value would your information be? I don't fear Big Brother coz he has no idea who or what I am. And in a world of 7,000,000,000 people, I really don't see how I'm all that important. And with more and more people getting on line every day, even with a reported one million servers, Google can't possibly keep up. How does one sort through exabytes of data - yes, I know, it can be done but, why? My guess is 99% of this happens without any human intervention what so ever. So if I like Ford and Chevy, don't they cancel each other out? GIGO.
    carolinagirl38D
  • RE: Google is now the top public DNS provider in the world

    Google's DNS service will be viable it they properly support DNSSEC.
    danbi
  • RE: Google is now the top public DNS provider in the world

    Its all a matter of trust, Google had a working principle of <i>'do no evil'</i>, that trust is betrayed, gone, when one entity stores so much about an individual, ANY individual, then its dangerous. <br><br>@kmorschauser puts it very well, its either Orwellian or the Internet equivalent of opening Pandora's Box.<br><br>Why is my personal trust in Google blown?, well reading all my emails to decide what to advertise is bad enough, Google's abuse of the patents system by using FRAND patents to try to block sales of competitors products really takes the biscuit when all Android smartphones are blatently stealing or copying others ideas and Intellectual Property. So my Google apps are deleted, my email is migrating to other providers with whom I still have trust and my search engine is Bing. <br><br>And OpenDNS is great, it works, it has security features, if you need more parental control, use a proper local firewall such as SmoothWall.
    rcw86
    • @rcw86

      [i]reading all my emails to decide what to advertise is bad enough[/i]

      Google "reads" your emails to decide what ads to display the same way your spam-blocker - or your ISP's spam-blocker - "reads" your emails to decide which are spam and which are ham.

      I wouldn't worry about it.




      :)
      none none
  • RE: Google is now the top public DNS provider in the world

    for all the big brother orwell fanatics - i really hope you protest all the legislation that is passed by our government (into LAW) that is stripping us all of our freedom. one corporation seeing which websites you visit is the least of your problems.
    cnet_is_a_joke
  • RE: Google is now the top public DNS provider in the world

    We see where Google claims to serve more DNS requests than other services, but where is the data to support their claim?
    Michael Martinez