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Google launches free Public DNS

post #1 of 50
Thread Starter 
Google has opened up public access to a new Domain Name System (DNS) service that allows users to look up Internet hosts quickly, accurately and securely.

The new service enables users to bypass their own Internet Service Provider's DNS to use Google's performance-optimized name lookup servers. Internet users constantly access DNS in the background every time they enter a URL in their browser, click a hyperlink, send email, or perform any other task that requires resolving the IP address of a given host name.

A user's currently assigned DNS server may be overburdened, slow, or even maliciously poisoned to provide bad information. That makes Google's new service both potential performance and security improvement.

Users can try the new service by entering Google's easy to remember DNS IP addresses (8.8.8.8 and 8.8.4.4) in place of their existing DNS settings, either individually on each computer they use, or centrally on their AirPort base station or other router, which will then access Google's DNS to perform all network host name lookups.

No redirection, blocking or filtering

Other free DNS services are already available, but most cover their costs by redirecting failed lookups (for mistyped or incorrect URLs) to ad supported pages that suggest alternatives. So far, Google isn't performing any such commercial redirects. Instead, the company is providing the service for free as a way to collect information about how users use the Internet on an anonymous and aggregated level.

In its Google Public DNS information page, the company states, "Sometimes, in the case of a query for a mistyped or non-existent domain name, the right [DNS] answer means no answer, or an error message stating the domain name could not be resolved. Google Public DNS never blocks, filters, or redirects users, unlike some open resolvers and ISPs."

Google also provides detailed instructions on how to use its new service, including toll free telephone support. It also explains the performance benefits and security advantages of its new service.

Google's network savvy and capacity to handle huge volumes of public requests make it uniquely positioned to offer such a service for free to the public. The company itself indicates the service is being offered in order to make the web faster, as every typical web page a user loads in a browser involves several or even many DNS lookups, each of which may stall the page loading progress if it cannot be resolved rapidly.
post #2 of 50
Wondering why. Maybe automatic research on what folks are doing on the web?
post #3 of 50
Google's long game becomes more evident by the day: own the internet, then backfill with services and hardware.
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post #4 of 50
Heh. Says the spam that explicitly cites Google Earth as a feature.
They spoke of the sayings and doings of their commander, the grand duke, and told stories of his kindness and irascibility.
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They spoke of the sayings and doings of their commander, the grand duke, and told stories of his kindness and irascibility.
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post #5 of 50
Google is the internet. This is a cool way for google to be adware as hell with people voluntarily giving it the information it wants, and then it makes money off of that. Pure genius.
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post #6 of 50
That google- they are in the news every other day now it seems- with real innovations too.
It will be interesting to see how 2010 shapes up with all their new changes.
post #7 of 50
I'll gladly switch to this pronto. I'm sick of trying to access websites at home and watching Firefox "Looking up www.google.com" for 15 seconds when I just used Google ten minutes earlier! Verizon's DNS servers bite. They apparently cache nothing, which wouldn't be bad if they were fast, but they're very not.
post #8 of 50
Anyone seen any timing tests published yet? If Google caches more of the sites I frequent and saves me time, I'll contribute to their aggregate data mining research.
post #9 of 50
But is it better than opendns.org, which lets you filter your own browsing experience (such as preventing kids from accessing porn)?
post #10 of 50
sorry for such a crappy comment, but what exactly does this have to do with apple?

as stated by others, opendns is more feature rich, and google is only doing this to take web statistics. i guess it's pretty cool that we get another dns option over the junky dns servers most isps have.
post #11 of 50
Google, I'm about to hit the can. Just checkin' in.
post #12 of 50
thepiratebay.org & eztv.it have always given me trouble using comcast's DNS servers. They pop up instantly now!
post #13 of 50
I suspect that in an effort t deliver faster service, Google has identified that most users upstream DNS service causes the greatest delay (in resolving the correct records), due to either bad caching (ignoring TTLs and Expire settings) as well as badly configured resolvers (DNS servers are not a money maker so they often get overlooked with budgets).

Google has a service to deliver, giving the service a better user experience has to be part of their strategy.
post #14 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hotelbymaps.com View Post

Excellent initiative actually, and wondering why they didn't do it before. A great way to collect more accurate information about user behaviour. I'll stay safe and more anonymous to google and stick to OpenDNS instead...

Right there with ya.
These guys are starting to really scare me.
post #15 of 50
I've used OpenDNS for some time so I restarted my computer and made some timing tests using WebSitePulse (http://www.websitepulse.com/corporate/alltools.php) to access several web sites I frequent hourly. Then switched to Google's DNS lookup, restarted and ran the same suite of tests.


Results, Google was faster in every case, sometimes significantly faster.


I'm sold...until millions of people switch over and things slow down again.
post #16 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by str1f3 View Post

Google, I'm about to hit the can. Just checkin' in.

str1f3,

Thanks for thinking you're checking in, but we already know. By the way, you should try Fiber One cereal. We're just sayin'. . .

Love,
Google
post #17 of 50
Once again Google provides exactly what I wanted, OpenDNS was good but the redirrect was a waste and I didn't utilize the filtering options. Thanks Google!
post #18 of 50
Hmm, so you want Google to keep a record of every domain and IP address you've ever accessed, including mistyped domain names...?
post #19 of 50
2015-- "I can't wait to send Google my DNA profile! They're free, and their diagnostic tools are way better than my HMO!"
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post #20 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by clexman View Post

... always given me trouble using comcast's DNS servers. They pop up instantly now!

Yes, this is great for users behind the Comcast DNS mess.
post #21 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by OriginalMacRat View Post

Yes, this is great for users behind the Comcast DNS mess.

I agree with that. I feel somewhat nerdy for looking forwards to getting home to try this!
post #22 of 50
Everything Google does is great and all, but it makes me nervous when that one company can have access to so much information:

People's documents, people's web browser, people's OS, people's email, people's IM, people's telephone calls, people's medical records, people's search terms, people's checkout accounts, people's bookshelves, people's news feeds, people's blogs, people's driving directions, people's photos, people's geolocation, people's video, people's finances, people's calendars, people's websites, whatever I forgot to mention, and now what people type into their address bar.

Has there ever been one company that is so ubiquitous like this? I use their services because they're great, and I seriously doubt Google would want to risk its billions by breaching privacy regulations, but I think Google has more information than any intelligence agency, and there's building potential for exploitation.
post #23 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hotelbymaps.com View Post

Excellent initiative actually, and wondering why they didn't do it before. A great way to collect more accurate information about user behaviour. I'll stay safe and more anonymous to google and stick to OpenDNS instead...

&
Quote:
Originally Posted by sheff View Post

Google is the internet. This is a cool way for google to be adware as hell with people voluntarily giving it the information it wants, and then it makes money off of that. Pure genius.

+1 for both.
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post #24 of 50
Wow! I was having major issues with Safari for the last few months and I didn't know what caused this to suddenly happen.

I'd get a lot of beachballs, often my browser would freeze up and several times a week, Safari would just plain crash.

I recently installed a 25Mbps connection to deal with speed issues but that didn't fix it... so I attributed the problems to the latest revision of Safari..

... well, I just changed my DNS settings to Google and BAM! Every website I've thrown at Safari loads in an instant!

It was my damn ISP's DNS routing system that was breaking Safari!! Some URLs would take a noticeable pause to resolve. Now, I type in a URL, hit enter and it instantly loads the page. I can also type a URL without the .com and it'll figure it out whereas before, I would get my ISP's page full of ads and unhelpful URL suggestions.

Thank you Google!!
post #25 of 50
I currently using a MacBook running 10.5.8 and an Airport Extreme-N. I cant seem to figure out how to set up my system to use the Google DNS servers. I first tried add both IP addresses (8.8.8.8 & 8.8.4.4) under DNS servers on my Airport Extreme. I went to the test site Google recommends (http://18.62.1.6) and the page didnt load. I next tried adding the DNS servers on my Mac following Google's setup instructions (http://code.google.com/speed/public-dns/docs/using.html) but still no luck - the test page still wouldn't load. What am I doing wrong?
post #26 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by Felix01 View Post

I've used OpenDNS for some time so I restarted my computer and made some timing tests using WebSitePulse (http://www.websitepulse.com/corporate/alltools.php) to access several web sites I frequent hourly. Then switched to Google's DNS lookup, restarted and ran the same suite of tests.

Results, Google was faster in every case, sometimes significantly faster.

I'm sold...until millions of people switch over and things slow down again.

Thanks for this. I did a few ping tests to my local ISP's DNS servers. My ISP's were significantly better as far as latency, but I didn't know of a way to do any real world tests.

I got significantly faster results from Road Runner's DNS servers. I think I'll pass.
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post #27 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hotelbymaps.com View Post

... I'll stay safe and more anonymous to google and stick to OpenDNS instead...

Quote:
Originally Posted by isaidso View Post

Right there with ya.
These guys are starting to really scare me.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rhowarth View Post

Hmm, so you want Google to keep a record of every domain and IP address you've ever accessed, including mistyped domain names...?

Quote:
Originally Posted by macosxp View Post

Everything Google does is great and all, but it makes me nervous when that one company can have access to so much information:

People's documents, people's web browser, people's OS, people's email, people's IM, people's telephone calls, people's medical records, people's search terms, people's checkout accounts, people's bookshelves, people's news feeds, people's blogs, people's driving directions, people's photos, people's geolocation, people's video, people's finances, people's calendars, people's websites, whatever I forgot to mention, and now what people type into their address bar.

Has there ever been one company that is so ubiquitous like this? I use their services because they're great, and I seriously doubt Google would want to risk its billions by breaching privacy regulations, but I think Google has more information than any intelligence agency, and there's building potential for exploitation.

Thank goodness people are starting to pay attention to this! Google is not an inherently evil company, but there's no way any company should be allowed to have so much cross-domain knowledge about so many people. They know more about you than the Feds, and probably more than many of your relatives. At some point at least some of their data WILL be hacked, there's no doubt about that at all. And just because they are "good guys" right now, it doesn't mean squat down the road when new management comes in and everything changes. Many of you are too young to have a long-term perspective on this, but trust me, companies always change personalities when management changes, and people move on or retire all the time. Remember, YOUR DATA LIVES ON IN PERPETUITY!

Those of you that are looking at this as a freebie and changing merely because of a few milliseconds better service should be thinking about the bigger picture. Now in severe cases like iPedro, maybe there's a point where you can't tolerate the alternative, but for most of us, this should NOT be something to jump into lightly. Consider other options, like OpenDNS, etc.
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post #28 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blah64 View Post

Thank goodness people are starting to pay attention to this! Google is not an inherently evil company, but there's no way any company should be allowed to have so much cross-domain knowledge about so many people. They know more about you than the Feds, and probably more than many of your relatives. At some point at least some of their data WILL be hacked, there's no doubt about that at all. And just because they are "good guys" right now, it doesn't mean squat down the road when new management comes in and everything changes. Many of you are too young to have a long-term perspective on this, but trust me, companies always change personalities when management changes, and people move on or retire all the time. Remember, YOUR DATA LIVES ON IN PERPETUITY!

Those of you that are looking at this as a freebie and changing merely because of a few milliseconds better service should be thinking about the bigger picture. Now in severe cases like iPedro, maybe there's a point where you can't tolerate the alternative, but for most of us, this should NOT be something to jump into lightly. Consider other options, like OpenDNS, etc.

As far as DNS goes, that's a bit much. They know that IP address X went to web site Y. With DHCP, and generic DLS and Cable Modem names, it's unlikely they would be able to uniquely identify you other than via a generic IP. Unless you ISP starts giving Google your name based on IP, the data is only useful for advertising and trending. Valuable to Google, but not really personally identifiable in any real way.
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post #29 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by DJRumpy View Post

As far as DNS goes, that's a bit much. They know that IP address X went to web site Y. With DHCP, and generic DLS and Cable Modem names, it's unlikely they would be able to uniquely identify you other than via a generic IP. Unless you ISP starts giving Google your name based on IP, the data is only useful for advertising and trending. Valuable to Google, but not really personally identifiable in any real way.

I'm afraid you're not really thinking this through.

Unless you don't subscribe to anything online, don't use web email, don't use cookies, etc., your IP address is you. Use gmail at all?

And most ISPs, even with DHCP keep their subscribers on a consistent IP for some time before it changes. So while all the dotted lines may not be connected directly at any given point in time, all the pieces can be put together readily by anyone with enough data and the interest to do so. Remember the poor lady who, along with hundreds of thousands of others had their data spilled by AOL to "researchers"? They didn't think any of it was identifiable. How ignorant they were.

Currently, your ISP (or OpenDNS or whoever you use) has all your DNS requests already (they probably do nothing with them, it's not especially valuable until it's combined with other data). The difference here is now this data is in the hands of the biggest aggregator of personal data on the planet.
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post #30 of 50
Did anyone actually read Google's Public DNS privacy statement?

http://code.google.com/speed/public-dns/privacy.html

Quote:
Google Public DNS stores two sets of logs: temporary and permanent. The temporary logs store the full IP address of the machine you're using. We have to do this so that we can spot potentially bad things like DDoS attacks and so we can fix problems, such as particular domains not showing up for specific users.

We delete these temporary logs within 24 to 48 hours.

In the permanent logs, we don't keep personally identifiable information or IP information. We do keep some location information (at the city/metro level) so that we can conduct debugging, analyze abuse phenomena and improve the Google Public DNS prefetching feature. We don't correlate or combine your information from these logs with any other log data that Google might have about your use of other services, such as data from Web Search and data from advertising on the Google content network. After keeping this data for two weeks, we randomly sample a small subset for permanent storage.

(Emphasis mine.)

I'll grant you that they could be nefarious if they wanted to, but they explicitly state they're not doing what some of you think they're doing.
post #31 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by rbonner View Post

Wondering why. Maybe automatic research on what folks are doing on the web?

If you read the article...
Quote:
Instead, the company is providing the service for free as a way to collect information about how users use the Internet on an anonymous and aggregated level.
post #32 of 50
PS: As long as OpenDNS redirects on an NXDOMAIN result, I'll be using Google instead.
post #33 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by iPedro View Post

Wow! I was having major issues with Safari for the last few months and I didn't know what caused this to suddenly happen.

I'd get a lot of beachballs, often my browser would freeze up and several times a week, Safari would just plain crash.

I recently installed a 25Mbps connection to deal with speed issues but that didn't fix it... so I attributed the problems to the latest revision of Safari..

... well, I just changed my DNS settings to Google and BAM! Every website I've thrown at Safari loads in an instant!

It was my damn ISP's DNS routing system that was breaking Safari!! Some URLs would take a noticeable pause to resolve. Now, I type in a URL, hit enter and it instantly loads the page. I can also type a URL without the .com and it'll figure it out whereas before, I would get my ISP's page full of ads and unhelpful URL suggestions.

Thank you Google!!

My words exactly...

THANK YOU GOOGLE! My Internet provider, RCN, sometime ago started "re-directing" my mistyped domain names to their stupid search engine system. As I looked for ways to make it stop, all other free alternatives redirected also, as a way to pay for the service.

Now Google gives you a DNS that promises (ironically give...n its what they do) no redirects to a search engine if you mistype something. More than anything, I want the opportunity to simply correct the URL... and not be forced to edit the ugly "redirect" URL they've replaced it with. Woo-hoo!

Moreover, recently... for no explicable reason, quickenonline started giving me a "certificate revoked" notice. I tried looking this up, and even though everything basically said "just enter an exception" the system refused to work right (Safari let me bypass the error, but the error persisted). Now that I've updated, I pop onto quickonline without any problems. I sware, these ISP jerkwads don't know how they're chasing customers off. If they simply allowed me to turn their "search" feature off, I wouldn't have to look elsewhere for domain name resolution.

~ CB
post #34 of 50
OK the Google Andriod stuff I can understand, but THIS is not related to Apple in any way!
post #35 of 50
My ISP's DNS server has been playing up lately. It does so every 6 months or so and they've never found a fix it in all the years I've been with them. Google to the rescue.

Yes, there are privacy concerns: your ISP knowing every site you visit is unavoidable, but this is a whole extra group. But on the other hand, nothing I do is particularly special so I don't really care if they do collect.
post #36 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by R3negade View Post

OK the Google Andriod stuff I can understand, but THIS is not related to Apple in any way!

Oh, yeah, it's not like Apple users use the internet, or anything...
post #37 of 50
I already block all calls to google-analytics from web pages and use ask.com in the first instance when searching, so I'm hardly going to go and use this latest offering.
post #38 of 50
Well Skynet is coming along nicely. Where are the robots and the AI?
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Most of us employ the Internet not to seek the best information, but rather to select information that confirms our prejudices. - Nicholas D. Kristof
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post #39 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cleverboy View Post

My words exactly...

THANK YOU GOOGLE! My Internet provider, RCN, sometime ago started "re-directing" my mistyped domain names to their stupid search engine system. As I looked for ways to make it stop, all other free alternatives redirected also, as a way to pay for the service.

Now Google gives you a DNS that promises (ironically give...n its what they do) no redirects to a search engine if you mistype something. More than anything, I want the opportunity to simply correct the URL... and not be forced to edit the ugly "redirect" URL they've replaced it with. Woo-hoo!

Moreover, recently... for no explicable reason, quickenonline started giving me a "certificate revoked" notice. I tried looking this up, and even though everything basically said "just enter an exception" the system refused to work right (Safari let me bypass the error, but the error persisted). Now that I've updated, I pop onto quickonline without any problems. I sware, these ISP jerkwads don't know how they're chasing customers off. If they simply allowed me to turn their "search" feature off, I wouldn't have to look elsewhere for domain name resolution.

~ CB

Just wanted to report that Google's DNS option works great for me here in Germany too. I'm currently with T-Online, and have also thought that the servers their were a big bottleneck. I also had tried OpenDNS in the past, without any noticeable difference.

GoogleDNS on the other hand has sped up my connection by more than a few seconds per page. I should mention that it is most noticeable because I can only get an "Ultra-Light DNS" connection here where I live: try 480kb(!)... so every second counts.

I'm going to try it out on my satellite ISP next, but alas, nothing will help that catastrophe of a service, with an inherent 1+/second ping latency. Only use it for updates and software downloads anyway, so.... no big deal.

Re: Security concerns - I have the choice of Google, or the (still roughly 30%) partially government owned Deutsche Telekom. The track record here actually points to Google being the safer bet, because they are constantly under scrutiny here. However DT has over the the last year or so been involved in quite a few scandals here re: data-loss, data-sharing, and other assorted security problems.

BTW: what really is sooo bad about targeted ads anyway? If ads are necessary to be able to view what the web and assorted future internet services have to offer... I'll take targeted over mass-consumtion ads any day. Just my 2 cents.
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post #40 of 50
My home network of 1 OS X server, 3 Macs, 2 Windows was brought to its knees when I implemented Google's DNS.

Good luck with this.
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