Google – DNS Data? Yummy

 

Google have introduced a DNS service

If you use it, they will know everything you do online. I am sure some people won’t mind.

A lot of the money made by major ISPs is for the anonymous data they provide to various services that aggregate that data.

I think it would be unrealistic to expect web traffic based upon DNS data to remain outside of search algorithms for long, though it would certainly be as noisy as data from Google’s toolbar, which Matt Cutts has stated isn’t used by the webspam team.

This would certainly make data in Google trends more accurate

Update

Right at the very bottom of Google’s FAQ on the DNS service is this statement

Is information about my queries to Google Public DNS shared with other Google properties, such as Search, Gmail, ads networks, etc.?
No.

That in some way contradicts what I previously understood from their privacy policy

Finally, if you’re interested in knowing what else we log when you use Google Public DNS, here is the full list of items that are included in our permanent logs:

  • Request domain name, e.g. www.google.com
  • Request type, e.g. A (which stands for IPv4 record), AAAA (IPv6 record), NX,
    TXT, etc.
  • Transport protocol on which the request arrived, i.e. TCP or UDP
  • Client’s AS (autonomous system or ISP), e.g. AS15169
  • User’s geolocation information: i.e. geocode, region ID, city ID, and metro code
  • Response code sent, e.g. SUCCESS, SERVFAIL, NXDOMAIN, etc.
  • Whether the request hit our frontend cache
  • Whether the request hit a cache elsewhere in the system (but not in the frontend)
  • Absolute arrival time in seconds
  • Total time taken to process the request end-to-end, in seconds
  • Name of the Google machine that processed this request, e.g. machine101
  • Google target IP to which this request was addressed, e.g. one of our anycast IP addresses (no relation to the user’s IP)

My interpretation remains the same as my personal belief is that these documents were intended to address people’s genuine concern over private browsing data, personal search and advertising targetting.
The paragraph at the bottom of the FAQ clearly uses “my” rather than addressing the potential use of anonymous data.

Certainly from meory Google tends to make a distinction between anonymous and personal data and it is strange that they haven’t in this case.

There is so much talk about the “Real Time Web” and how much value the data has for search, but there is isn’t anything more real-time that can be measured than DNS.

 

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Comments

    • says

      I am not sure, some of the big data analysis companies such as Hitwise & Comscore probably clock up a few bills on the cash register.

      Obviously Google make money, but you can’t attribute all their income to just this one data source – any benefit is just incremental combined with other factors.

      Good chance this will speed up Google search though for those that use it.

      On a personal note, I tend to not wear a tin foil hat these days for most activities.

  1. says

    This is going to be a hard sell to people, the opening marketing tactic of faster and more secure. A simple ping test shows for most UK and indeed any non American that they are slower then your ISP (who at least will be on the same continent as you), more worryingly is how much slower they are to openDNS their closest rival. With no real information on how they will be more secure then systems like OpenDNS theyhave a really hard sale.

    While I can see a few moving over, for many DNS is automatic something your ISP does, if you change away from your ISP its normal in favour of privacy something you can’t expect from Google. This leaves a large question how are they going to sell it to me?

    The answer I suspect is they won’t they will sell it to my ISP as a way to reduce costs by providing white label DNS access, indeed they might already be doing so?

  2. Peter Kasting says

    Did you read the Public DNS policies on data collection? They specifically say they’re not doing the things you talk about. e.g. No data will be shared with any other Google service, no data is ever associated with your account, etc.

    • says

      You are commenting using a Google.com email address from a Google IP Address 216-239-45-4.google.com so whilst that could be faked I thought it important to disclose that information on your behalf (doesn’t Google have a policy about that?) – it is especially important in the B2C space, and DNS is a consumer service.

      Here is what is stated specifically in the privacy policy.

      Finally, if you’re interested in knowing what else we log when you use Google Public DNS, here is the full list of items that are included in our permanent logs:

      * Request domain name, e.g. http://www.google.com
      * Request type, e.g. A (which stands for IPv4 record), AAAA (IPv6 record), NX, TXT, etc.
      * Transport protocol on which the request arrived, i.e. TCP or UDP
      * Client’s AS (autonomous system or ISP), e.g. AS15169
      * User’s geolocation information: i.e. geocode, region ID, city ID, and metro code
      * Response code sent, e.g. SUCCESS, SERVFAIL, NXDOMAIN, etc.
      * Whether the request hit our frontend cache
      * Whether the request hit a cache elsewhere in the system (but not in the frontend)
      * Absolute arrival time in seconds
      * Total time taken to process the request end-to-end, in seconds
      * Name of the Google machine that processed this request, e.g. machine101
      * Google target IP to which this request was addressed, e.g. one of our anycast IP addresses (no relation to the user’s IP)

      Google’s primary business is search and monetization of search results

      Nowhere in the privacy statement does it categorically state that the data will never be used in other parts of Google’s business, and for readers of this blog they would be most concerned about search results, and not personal privacy.
      Data in aggregate has value.

      The data in many ways is very similar to toolbar data – as far as I know the webspam team is the only one that states they don’t use Toolbar data

  3. says

    Hey Andy,

    Thanks for bringing this up. It is scary how much information will be concentrated in the hands of single company. Be is anonymous or not – I don’t think it matters, it will still allow them to see exact queries performed and perhaps organize the SERP’s

    • says

      I just don’t think it’s going to give them much more information than they already have. I’ve already got analytics on my blog, what do they gain from me using their DNS servers for it too?

      More to the point, why would i go switch? Honestly as plugged in as thery are already, I’ll switch in a heartbeat if they demonstrate some value beyond using my own.

      • says

        It is data from users not websites – the other end of the chain

        Probably most useful if switched in big chunks – it costs money for an ISP to run DNS, but at the same time they make money from their data and giving Google the data fro free might not be smart.

  4. says

    I’ve been thinking about switching to this from opendns as a test to see what happens. But I’m not sure if it will be faster or not. I’ve seen things that would lead you to believe otherwise.

    But I wonder what it will do when you run the majectic 12 crawler and you pull down about 750k pages a day… across a lot of domains…

  5. says

    Hmmmm…. I’m not sure why I would want to use their DNS servers as opposed to my own? Most of their services, I do use. I even have all of my MX from danemorgan.com pointed to Google apps and run my email through there, but I don’t see any value in using their DNS.

    Am I missing something obvious?

    • says

      There is a specific plugin but I didn’t use it… due to weird things this site is using GFC but as a blogger blog

      For chunks of code for the lazy there is “header & footer” though it could just as easily be done with functions.php – I tend to be lazy

  6. says

    By the number of DNS requests Google Wave triggers it seems to be a logical consequence that Google is stacking up the global DNS capacities. (Maybe not a totally serious reasoning of mine. :-)

    Personally I did not think about DNS for a long, long time until Telefonica messed up their DNS service for a couple of days in July this year. I used OpenDNS for the first time back then but switched back.

    Now I read David Ulevitch’s — founder of OpenDNS.com — blog post (already linked to above by Jeremy Palmer) about choices and their USP configuration and filtering.

    Google’s additional USP might be the “sexy” IP addresses of their name servers. I already have it memorized even though I don’t use them. (Again, maybe not such a serious note.)

    Yours
    John

  7. Chad says

    Google is becoming a behemoth, period. I personally think it’s dangerous that one company is consolidating so much power in terms of internet information. The amount of data they have is ridiculous, period.

    What if they ever cooperate with government agencies in any capacity, or if the government decides Google should somehow share their data for ‘national security’ or ‘public good’ reasons?

    Google has a perfect right to operate as a company, however I would like to see these other companies(Bing, Yahoo, MSN) rise to a more competitive level vis a vis Google so we don’t encourage a total monopoly.

    • says

      Fair enough but some aspects of the “public good” are worthwhile

      As an example I deleted the link to your affiliate site as whilst there might be good information, I am not a good judge of that – you are promoting medical advice so knowing where that medical advice is coming from is important, and the comment & link came from a umass.edu IP address whereas the owner of the site as far as I know is no longer a student.

      I have to trust the links that get left on my blog for them to remain.

  8. says

    Economy and market are evolving and one day, one day soon, the first power is the information. One company will handle everything and the others will only satellites.
    It is frightening but true. Thanks Andy as always your articles are very complete.

  9. says

    There is another popular DNS Service company that Sequoia Capital funded and Google’s entry into this would either destroy them or make them more valuable to other companies who feel that there may be value to that data such as Microsoft? Also, Google has a history of buying up Sequioia backed companies (YouTube) or enter into markets via acquistion (latest AdMob) and I would not be surprise that they would acquire this company.

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