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Date: Thu, 3 Dec 2009 23:36:16 -0500
From: Ruben Safir
Subject: [NYLXS - HANGOUT] Google DNS Services
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User-Agent: Mutt/1.5.18 (2008-05-17)
Google expands plan to run own internet
The Chocolate Factory does DNS
By Cade Metz in San Francisco
Posted in Networks, 3rd December 2009 21:37 GMT
Free webcast: Service level monitoring and management
Google has entered the domain name resolution business, part of its
ongoing effort to control just about everything you do on the net.
This morning, the Mountain View Chocolate Factory unveiled
the free Google Public DNS (http://code.google.com/speed/public-dns), a
service that lets you resolve net domain names through Google-controlled
DNS - the Domain Name System - converts text urls into numeric IP
addresses. This is typically handled by your ISP, but Google wants to
keep the task to itself. It says this will bring your life more speed
and more safety.
"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," reads a blog post
from Google product manager Prem Ramaswami. "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."
Since 2005, a similar service has been available from a startup known as
OpenDNS (http://www.opendns.com/). One difference, Google says
(http://code.google.com/speed/public-dns/docs/intro.html), is that its
new service will not redirect you to landing pages if you mistype an
"Sometimes, in the case of a query for a mistyped or non-existent domain
name, the right answer means no answer, or an error message stating the
domain name could not be resolved," the company explains. "Google Public
DNS never blocks, filters, or redirects users, unlike some open
resolvers and ISPs."
Yes, that would seem to be a reference to OpenDNS, which redirects users
to ad-laden pages when names don't resolve. Google, it seems, carefully
avoided even mentioning advertising in announcing its Public DNS - it
merely says it doesn't do "redirection" - but the subtext is there. In
his own blog post
founder David Ulevitch seems to have heard the "a" word.
He's right, however, in pointing out that even if Google isn't
redirecting users to ads through the service, it should hardly be viewed
in the way Google would have you view it. "Google claims that this
service is better because it has no ads or redirection. But you have to
remember they are also the largest advertising and redirection company
on the Internet," Ulevitch writes. "To think that Googleâ€™s DNS
service is for the benefit of the Internet would be naive. They know
there is value in controlling more of your Internet experience and I
would expect them to explore that fully."
Among other things, this gives Google access to even more of the web's
According to Google, it limits
(http://code.google.com/speed/public-dns/privacy.html) how long certain
information is retained. Your IP address, it says, is stored but then
deleted after 24 to 48 hours. "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,"
reads its privacy page.
Some geographic information and various other data is keep permanently.
"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."
Google also says it will not combine DNS data with data the company
collects elsewhere. "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."
We applaud Google for at least providing a detailed description of the
service's data collection policy. But as we said, well, just last week:
"Do we really want another monoculture
As Ulevitch puts it: "Itâ€™s not clear that Internet users really want
Google to keep control over so much more of their Internet experience
than they do already - from Chrome OS at the bottom of the stack to
Google Search at the top, it is becoming an end-to-end infrastructure
all run by Google, the largest advertising company in the world. I
prefer a heterogeneous Internet with lots of parties collaborating to
make this thing work as opposed to an Internet run by one big company."
Google is even building its very own physical internet
We can safely say the company is building its own servers
own Ethernet switches
its own underwater comms cables
its own worldwide collection of brick and mortar data centers
own truck-em-anywhere-you-want-em mobile data centers, and perhaps even
its own Data Center Navy
This morning, at the Supernova tech pow-wow in downtown San Francisco,
Googler Craig Walker offhandedly referred to this as "the Google
In a recent presentation
(http://www.theregister.co.uk/2009/10/23/google_spanner/), Google said
it is intent on expanding this infrastructure between one million and 10
million servers, encompassing 10 trillion (1013) directories and a
quintillion (1018) bytes of storage. All this would be spread across
"100s to 1000s" of locations around the world.
"The implications are a little disturbing," one Reg reader said in
response to Google Public DNS. "This could easily be a valid attempt by
Google to deal with certain holes in the extant DNS infrastructure.
However it could just as easily be a bridge too far."
What happens, he asked, if Google starts preconfiguring Chrome OS and
Android for its Public DNS service?
The company will tell you - time and again - that it's merely interested
in making the web a better place for netizens everywhere. But as it
works towards this ostensible goal, it's also doing its best to control,
yes, just about everything.
Which is only what you'd expect from a Fortune 500 company.
Google will also tell you that its leaders are saints - that they would
never use this sort of ubiquity for evil. But even if Sergey, Larry, and
Eric are morally superior to everyone else in the world - which is just
as ridiculous as it sounds - what happens when new leaders arrive?
For some, claims of saintliness
reason enough to wonder if the company has gone much too far