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Google Public DNS offers nothing to home end user

Most home users would prefer a DNS server which masks their identity or leaves an "untraceable" data stream across the web, as opposed to one that will work "all of the time".
Written by Zack Whittaker, Contributor on

I'm starting to lose faith in Google over a few things, and their new public DNS system is another strike to the ever growing disparity I have with the company.

DNS, as most of you know, translates IP addresses to web addresses, and the chances are if you are on a slower connection then a change of DNS can speed things up a bit. Sometimes as soon as you've hit Enter or Go in your browser, the delay there is caused by your subscribed DNS server ticking over and trying to find an address. As a result of technological improvement, some DNS servers run faster than others.

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However, those on a much faster connection barely notice a difference. As more and more people are switching from dial-up access to broadband, and the massive minority of all users are on connections slower than 256kbps, most people wouldn't notice or even care.

Once again, enter Google with a pointless idea which in my short lived experience, makes no difference to the end user.

But, there are some advantages for those hosting servers from their homes or want to use a backup DNS for when things inexplicably go wrong. So there is an upside, but again from the home user point of view, there's little difference. Most home users would prefer a DNS server which masks their identity or leaves an "untraceable" data stream across the web, as opposed to one that will work "all of the time".

Also, the security benefits may outweigh those of the ISP provided DNS settings, but even then most ISP's are aware of such attacks and it's in their best interest to keep their users safe in the long run.

On with the testing...

My broadband speed is around 13mbps up down and 1mbps down up (sorry, long day), and my ping ranges between 20-50ms; suffice to say my speed is fast, stable and the line quality is brilliant. Here are my results for the first part:

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I installed Page Speed 1.3 for Firefox 3.0, alongside Firebug to complete the installation. I kept my DNS settings on my router as those provided by my ISP, hence why they are called below the ISP DNS. I flushed the DNS, I loaded about:blank and cleared the cache. I loaded google.co.uk and in a second round of tests loaded bbc.co.uk from the about:blank page, and recorded the speed with the plug-in. I repeated this process ten times, then changed DNS settings to those of the Google Public DNS and repeated once again.

Because the BBC homepage has more on it, it took longer to load, obviously.

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After this, I noted that the Google Public DNS loaded up non-Google pages (bbc.co.uk) faster, yet my ISP DNS settings seemed to load up Google pages (google.co.uk) pages faster.

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This does not conclude anything, except that Google Public DNS settings do not always load up pages faster for the ordinary home user. All they provide is a backup DNS set of servers for those who are running their own servers or websites from home, and offer little else.

Thoughts?

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