Google just launched the Google Public DNS. Just like OpenDNS, Google Public DNS will allow users to bypass their ISPs Domain Name Servers (DNS). DNS servers are, in many respects, the backbone of the Internet. DNS allows you to type a domain name like www.senate.gov into a browser instead of a machine-readable IP number like http://22.214.171.124/. Google argues that it wants to give consumers an alternative to their ISPs’ DNS services in order to make the Internet “faster, safer and more reliable.”
According to Google product manager Prem Ramaswami, the company’s engineers have been working to improve DNS over the last few months. Instead of performing DNS lookups on an ISP’s DNS server, Google will use its data-center and caching infrastructure to resolve these domain names.
After SPDY (which augments HTTP), this is Google’s second major project that touches upon the core infrastructure of the Web.
Using Google Public DNS
Google Public DNS uses 126.96.36.199 and 188.8.131.52 as its IP addresses. Advanced users will surely have no problem making the necessary changes to enable Google Public DNS. The company has also released a set of step-by-step instructions for Windows, Mac and Linux users that can be found here.
A First for Google: Phone Support for a Free Product
In addition, Google is also offering phone support, which, to our knowledge, is unprecedented. Given that a mistake in changing your DNS settings could easily make accessing the Internet impossible, this is probably a good solution in this specific case.
According to Google’s FAQ, the company will only keep temporary logs and erase all the information it collects through the public DNS service within 24 to 45 hours. The company promises not to keep any information that is linked to IP addresses in its permanent logs.
As of now, it doesn’t look like Google offers any additional services besides the pure DNS lookup. Unlike OpenDNS, it doesn’t block malware sites or present users with a list of alternative addresses (and ads) if it can’t resolve an address.