Google Unveils DNS Service… What Could Be Evil About This?

If you’ve been looking for an alternative to OpenDNS or your Internet Service Provider’s DNS service, here’s one from the empire known as Google. Introducing Google Public DNS. Here’s why Google thinks you should run this DNS service instead of your ISP’s DNS or OpenDNS:

The average Internet user ends up performing hundreds of DNS lookups each day, and some complex pages require multiple DNS lookups before they start loading. This can slow down the browsing experience. Our research has shown that speed matters to Internet users, so over the past several months our engineers have been working to make improvements to our public DNS resolver to make users’ web-surfing experiences faster, safer and more reliable.

Okay, that sounds cool. So what could be bad about Google’s new DNS service? How about this from their FAQ:

With Google Public DNS, we collect IP address (only temporarily) and ISP and location information (in permanent logs) for the purpose of making our service faster, better and more secure. Specifically, we use this data to conduct debugging, to analyze abuse phenomena and to improve our prefetching feature. After 24 hours, we erase any IP information.

Okay. They’re collecting information about my surfing habits and hanging onto it for 24 hours. At least they tell you up front that they’re doing that. But you have to wonder what they’re doing in that 24 hour period with that information. After all, that info is quite valuable if you deliver ads to Internet users like they do. OpenDNS to be fair has a clearly stated privacy policy as well. But info the same info that Google deletes in 24 hours, OpenDNS deletes in 48 hours unless you have an OpenDNS account. But to be fair, OpenDNS doesn’t sell that data. You can be sure that Google isn’t just letting that data sit there without using it in some way to make a buck.

I think my main concern about the Google Public DNS is that if you use it, you’ve basically handed over just a bit more control of the Internet to Google. From Chrome, to Gmail, to Google Search, Google is becoming an end to end shop. In a way, they are headed into the realm that Microsoft aspires towards. That is to control your complete Internet experience. Is that a good thing? I’m not sure yet. But if you aren’t thrilled about Microsoft having this level of control, you shouldn’t be thrilled about Google having this level of control either. For that reason, I won’t be converting over to Google Public DNS. I simply don’t feel comfortable with the implications of doing so.

Perhaps Google can prove that this isn’t evil in some way?

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