Google announced the launch of the Google Public DNS service, which is a free public domain name system. It is a lot like OpenDNS, but without any of the administrative controls for blocking sites or redirecting mismatched domains to a special landing page (which is where OpenDNS makes their money).
Google's DNS IPs are pretty sweet, they are 126.96.36.199 and 188.8.131.52. If you want to use it, here are the configuration instructions.
Google said they are doing this for one reason and one reason alone. To make the web faster. Google knows which sites are the most popular out there and they will precache those pages so it doesn't have to be done at the time of the DNS request. Most DNS servers cache sites based on the last time a user of theirs accessed it, Google will anticipate that without usage - at this point. Google likes speed, as we discussed time and time again over here.
You think Google will use the data to track you? Well, Google very specifically detailed what they will be tracking and for how long. The "temporary logs" contain IP level information, but Google will destroy "temporary logs within 24 to 48 hours." However, Google will be storing specific information on an aggregate level, those details can be found here.
As I said, webmasters are wary and there is a long WebmasterWorld thread with comments:
With it being such an easy way to track who goes where, I'm surprised Google is just getting into this now.
Would this really benefit anyone besides Google?
Reading their gumph, they claim that having a large, common caching database will mean faster performance for all, but is it really worth the slight boost in performance in exchange for giving Google even more of your data?
Google claim that their service will attempt to send users to their geographically closest data centre.
But I still reckon it's wisest to just stick with your own ISP's DNS offering, unless you know what you're doing.
Personally, I use OpenDNS because of the security and the ability to block access to specific sites on the DNS level - which is nice. Would I switch? Who knows. But I do like how the OpenDNS blog responded to this Google news, "to think that Google’s DNS service is for the benefit of the Internet would be naive." Now that is classic!
Forum discussion WebmasterWorld.