Google Pushing for DNS Changes

Google and a group of DNS and content providers, such as Sterling, VA-b ased Neustar/UltraDNS, want to extend the DNS protocol and speed up browsing. DNS, short for domain name server, translates URLs (e.g., into numeric IP addresses used by computers to communicate with one another on the web.

What Google’s proposing is that more information be sent during these machine/network communications “to optimize browsing speed” by creating connections with topologically linked servers, according to an account of Google’s proposal that I read. But Google also says that the volume of information sent should be limited so that it doesn’t violate users’ privacy. The story I read put it perfectly: by gathering enough data about a user’s location in a network, the system can then make the most of the connection to eliminate as much separation as possible between the user and the host.

“Our proposed DNS protocol extension lets recursive DNS resolvers include part of your IP address in the request sent to authoritative nameservers,” according to the writers on Google’s code blog. “Only the first three octets, or top 24 bits, are sent providing enough information to the authoritative nameserver to determine your network location, without affecting your privacy.”

Google hopes to get its proposal accepted as “an official Internet standard,” the blog says.

I can understand why Google is taking this initiative. I mean, aside from speed, which Google has been working to, well, speed up (launched officially as a goal in 2009), the company is uber (to use a German word) sensitive to data privacy violations now due to the recent cyber attacks against the company’s Gmail cloud app.

Even though this is more about extending the DNS protocol, I’m glad to see that Google is proposing privacy safeguards, too, in the initiative.