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Google’s Public DNS snaps up more of your browsing habits

Now he's watching every domain name I look up?
Now he's watching every domain name I look up?

Google recently added a Public DNS service. For a good definition of DNS, check our new wiki. In short: DNS is how your computer figures out where a web server is located when you type in any web address by your computer, meaning:

  • Web Browser
  • Email client
  • Or, any application which accesses the internet (which is most applications)

Then Google will see what name you requested. The privacy implications of this are staggering. The question remains:

Will Google be able to tie your DNS requests to other information about you?

(Say, your Google account, or web pages you browse on other sites which contain Google properties?)

The short answer is: yes, but not 100% reliably.

For a home network containing a single computer, yes, they could monitor everything easily because requests all come from a single IP address. For big corporate networks where thousands of computers share a small pool of addresses, no, not really. Because DNS does not have anything like a Cookie (definition of Cookie), the only means to track requests is by IP address (definition of IP Address).

The point is that it gives Google a vast amount of additional behavioral information to mine. They would be able to see the popularity of various domain names, the number of requests for each, and integrate this, naturally, to augment their search engine.

Again, Google is taking another slice of the internet pie. Thankfully, it’s voluntary, however, with the advent of offering free wifi, it will likely be involuntary if you use their “free networks.”

Maybe I should rename my blog Google Watch. Nah.

Update: Great article on CircleID about Google’s DNS Service, including OpenDNS’s response to Google’s offering:

“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. To think that Google’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”