Google Public DNS offers speed, few features

Today Google released its very own DNS service.    As someone with an on again off again relationship with OpenDNS, I am intrigued.

(For the purposes of this post, I'll assume you know what DNS is used for)

I've used OpenDNS in the past, both for speed and for the options it gives me as a user and as a Network Administrator at work.  

The service allows you to block certain segments of the web.  For instance, for work, I blocked Phishing sites so my more *novice* users wouldn't be tempted into giving up their credentials to some hackers.

Screen_shot_2009-12-03_at_11_02_43_PM.png

People with young children can block adult sites and sites with violent content if they wish.   In fact you can customize pretty granularly.

OpenDNS allows you to also make special redirects for certain codewords and a bunch of other really helpful features.

They also give admins/parents nice stats like so:

Screen_shot_2009-12-03_at_10_56_54_PM.png

Unfortunately, OpenDNS has a lot of flaws as well.  For one, when you enter an incorrect URL, you are given a page of mostly ads and really poor search results.  If you use one of the major home ISPs (Earthlink, Comcast, Verizon, Optimum, TimeWarner, etc) you also get this type of page on a mis-spelling of a domain.

Google is not immune to this behavior either, at least in the context of allowing one of its partners to paste ads everywhere.  OpenDNS (surprisingly) points out how Google and Dell make Dell users see ads whenever they mis-type a URL.-like owning a Dell wsn't bad enough already.

(I think Open DNS new that eventually Google would enter their space)

So what does Google have to offer?  At the moment, not much.  Their DNS servers are easy to remember (and very lucky Chinese numbers!): 

8.8.8.8

8.8.4.4

Screen_shot_2009-12-03_at_10_49_36_PM.png

Instructions on how to change your DNS to Google's are here

Level 3 owns these IP addresses so Google must be buying/renting them for a fee.  

At the moment, Google's Public DNS is all about speed and compatibility and not much else.  But as OpenDNS Founder David Ulevitch points out, Google is about advertising and redirects (see the Dell example above). It is likely that Google will try to monetize this service in the very near future.

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Me?  I am torn.  My highest priority is speed and reliability so Google is appealing.  The redirects that OpenDNS (and ISPs) provide are often less useful than getting the empty error page that Google now provides. 

If Google only forces OpenDNS to behave itself on redirects and give much more helpful results on typos and wrong address, I'd be happy to stick with OpenDNS.  I'm already worried that Google is taking over too much of my Internet experience. 

In fact, it may make sense for OpenDNS to give Microsoft a call for help in that area.

Copyright © 2009 IDG Communications, Inc.

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