Google Launches Its Own Public DNS Resolver

This story has been all over the net, not just at Slashdot. I find the timing curious, since I just blogged about ICANN starting a draft memo on DNS re-direction for top level domains. As I noted on that story, while an ICANN policy would prevent root servers from playing fast and loose with name resolution requests, there wouldn’t be anything to stop an ISP from doing so. Many currently do.

Google’s new resolver means that anyone fed up with their ISP re-directing typos to ad-laden pages has a new alternative. There were already alternatives, including running your own server or using a pre-existing public resolver, like OpenDNS. I’ve been using OpenDNS pretty much since I switched to Verizon as the only fiber provider in town and am pretty happy. Verizon’s DNS re-directs are particularly annoying. By default, OpenDNS also re-directs but you can give up a bit of personal info to register an account with which you can customize its behavior to suit your needs and tastes.

Not surprisingly, the creator of OpenDNS has some thoughts on Google’s entry into the space. This is worth a read before blithely using Google’s server. In short, the two are certainly not interchangeable and you’ll want to at least read through David Ulevitch’s points before deciding which to use. I think his fourth and fifth points are especially compelling, respectively that Google is drawing attention to the opportunity to use public resolvers and that not all users should be so eager to turn Google into the one dominant resolver.

I will add that if you do register an account with OpenDNS, they have a nice client tool which is useful if you have a dynamic IP address, making you one of the vast majority of broadband subscribers. The tool will update your OpenDNS account on a regular basis with whatever your currently assigned and subject to change dynamic address is so that if you need to, you can more easily access your home network from anywhere.

One Reply to “Google Launches Its Own Public DNS Resolver”

  1. Only slightly related, I know, but I have to say that OpenDNS may be a fine service, but only when one is in control of its use oneself.

    My employer started using OpenDNS as our corporate resolver “as a security measure”. They have imposed a bunch of arbitrary, frequently changing rules via OpenDNS to block access to various sites. I am periodically blocked from Google Docs and GitHub because they are “file storage” sites. Oddly I’ve never been blocked from bitbucket… But the blocks come and go; a couple of days ago I was able to use Google Docs to view a PDF attachment in an email, but a week or 2 earlier it was blocked. Very annoying.

    We are also subject to an OpenDNS generated links page in the case of typos, or when we use the Firefox address box as a search box. Used to be that would land you at google, but now, at work, I get a much less useful OpenDNS generated page.

    I realize that none of this is OpenDNS’s fault, rather it is poor use of a good tool by somebody in our IT service provision maze. But it just goes to show that even good tools can be twisted into ugly things.

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