Google Gets Into The DNS Business. Here's What That Means

Google just announced Google Public DNS, a new service that lets consumers use Google as their DNS service provider. The benefits to users are a theoretically faster and more stable browsing experience, and some additional security against malware type sites. The benefit to Google – tons more data, and some potential revenue.

Here are the basic instructions on how to use it (and Google has even provided phone support).

The service competes directly with Sequoia and Greylock backed OpenDNS, a four year old service that has had tremendous usage and revenue growth. OpenDNS is resolving 20 billion DNS queries per day, and has 15 million end users. Here’s an overview of how OpenDNS works.

In 2008 OpenDNS was making $20,000/day in revenue when they were resolving just 7 billion daily queries.

Here’s how money is made – when users enter a URL that can’t resolve, the service puts up its own landing page with search results and advertisements (Update: Google isn’t redirecting to search results like OpenDNS does. odd). And companies are very willing to pay for DNS services like these to stop employees from hitting malware sites (they are simply blocked), or other sites (porn, Facebook, etc.).

Update: OpenDNS has responded to the new Google service here.

Update 2: I spoke with Prem Ramaswami, the product manager for Google Public DNS. He the goals are speed, security and validty of DNS responses. They will follow DNS protocols to the letter, he says, which means no blocking, hijacking or filtering of queries at all. It’s all about speed. Prem points out this page that goes into technical detail on the speed improvements – and they’re sharing this with the community.

On privacy: Here’s the policy that says what’s being collected and how long they’re keeping it. Collected data includes IP address (up to 48 hours, to detect malicious behavior against the service), ISP information and geographic information (2 weeks each). The data is not correlated with your Google account in any way, they say.

The average user does about 1,000 queries per day, says Prem.