Google is continuing its attempts to speed up the web - or to gather as much information about your browsing habits as it possibly can, depending on your perspective - with the launch of a public DNS service.

As announced on the Official Google Blog, the search and advertising giant has decided to launch its own domain name resolution service - the technology which converts friendly names such as www.bit-tech.net into IP addresses - using technology it believes will speed things up for everyone.

Although Google is far from the first company to have this idea - the popular OpenDNS already offers free access, a service supported via the redirection of invalid or mistyped domains to a sponsored search page - the company has opted to make the service completely free, and promises that there will be no additional advertising or hijacking of invalid domains.

For anyone interested in the technicalities, Google's Public DNS relies on prefetching to reduce the number of resolver-side cache misses - which, in theory, should certainly increase the speed of name resolution. Additionally, Google has implemented various tricks to minimise the chance of response spoofing - including the randomisation of case in query names and including additional junk data in its DNS messages.

Despite these security tweaks, Google insists that its new service "complies with the DNS standards," and promises that it will give its users "the exact response his or her computer expects without performing any blocking, filtering, or redirection that may hamper a user's browsing experience."

Switching to the service is pretty straightforward, using as it does the memorable 8.8.8.8 and 8.8.4.4 as the IP addresses for its public DNS servers. Interestingly for a free service, Google has opted to include telephone support for anyone having difficulty - although it will involve a long-distance call if you're outside the US.

If you're concerned about exactly what information Google will record about your DNS lookups, the company has published a privacy policy for the service.

Will you be making the switch to Google Public DNS, or does the idea of giving Google even more insight into your browsing habits give you the fear? Share your thoughts over in the forums.

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