Who would have thought that DNS was so fashionable?

The news that Google has launched its own take on DNS has brought the technology to much wider attention, most people not really thinking about DNS options and relying on their service provider for DNS connectivity. The advantage is going to be increased speed and possibly better security - although Google is a bit vague as to why its DNS resolver will be better than any ISP's. The downside - and this is a big downside - is that Google will know just that little bit more about you and your browsiing and viewing history.

At one stroke, Google has made users think about DNS - something that they probably have never considered before. Of course, there's long been an option for users who didn't want to rely on their ISP's DNS - OpenDNS has been available for about four years as a DNS alternative.OpenDNS's founder David  Ulevitch has been surprisingly sanguine about Google's incursion into his marketplace

Ulevitch believes that Google's entry into the DNS space will ultimately be good for OpenDNS, "I think this is a good thing for us. Google DNS currently offers none of the choice and flexibility that our service does. It’s new and untested. Having said that, it encourages us to keep making our service better." It's a nice thought: I'm not sure it entirely holds water - there will be many more people who think "That's an interesting new service that Google has introduced, I'll check it out." than those who say "I need some DNS alternatives, I wonder who's out there?"

But the real issue is the privacy one. Just how much more information do we want to let Google have. The company has stated that user data gathered from the DNS implementation will be deleted within 48 hours. I'm sure that is the case but Ulevitch points out we're talking about the largest advertising-driven company in the world - and information is the currency of any advertising-driven company.

The wider implications are more worrying. It's perfectly possible that at some point in the future someone could take a phone call via Google Voice, look up information on his Google ChromeOS thin client, using his Chrome browser and Google Search, collaborate via GoogleWave and use the Google DNS service to resolve his connection - and that's not mentioning his Google Android phone and YouTube account. 

No-one is accusing Google of any malevolent purpose but it's not a good idea for any one company to hold so much information about individuals -  particularly at a time when the Conservative Party is talking about letting Google run NHS patient records.Whatever the personal benefits, GoogleDNS could yet prove to be a step too far.