For the longest time if you asked people which company on the web they thought cared the most about the consumer and had nothing but good intentions in everything it did all the fingers would point in the direction of Google. After all it was the young upstart tossing caution to the wind in the shadow of the Monster at Redmond and preaching a philosophy of do no evil.
As with all things though as company grow in size and power – especially when it comes to information of any kind – there will come a point where attitudes begin to shift and halos are beginning to look like they are being held up by horns.
Such is the case with Google as in recent times we are hearing more and more people voicing real, and imagined, concerned about the company and the potential stranglehold it has on our information and on the web.
A good example of this shift in attitudes is the conversations that have developed after the company’s announce about providing a free DNS service for any one to use.
Google’s argument is that they are doing it because this is just another way in which they can help speed up the web; but as altruistic as that might sound there are some who are suggesting that there is more to this than meets the eye.
It is important to remember at this point that the DNS service is one of the most basic services on the web. Without those DNS servers we wouldn’t have the friendly name way to navigate around the web. Instead we would have to remember all those IP numbers that point to all the millions of sites out there. It is the DNS servers that translates all those cryptic sequences of numbers and periods into the name we type into our browser address bar.
Current the majority of DNS name translation takes place on your ISP’s servers or through other free DNS services like OpenDNS. Google’s service seeks to consolidate all those DNS translations on their highly optimized servers thereby speeding up the incoming browser calls to the destination points around the world.
As generous of Google as this might sound it has people like Steve Rubel and Allen Stern questioning the real motives behind the move.
Steve Rubel might not believe Google is doing this in order to spy on people but that doesn’t change the fact that he thinks ther is more to this
I don’t believe Google is spying on anyone or invading privacy here. However, make no mistake – there are some not so subtle intentions. The benefit of such a service to Google is the data. Speed is just the user catnip. The more this is used the more data they can collect.
Allen on the other hand thinks this the first step in becoming the de facto global DNS service provider
It’s simple – most Internet providers will outsource their DNS functions to Google. I predict that this will happen by the end of June 2010. Google has the cash and will make it super sweet for the ISPs to switch. This will also help Google take the main market share for DNS. Changing your DNS servers on your computer is not that easy and most Internet users will never do it. But if Google partners with say Comcast or Time Warner, they can make the change at the server level and it will be done automatically. The ISPs get major cash, Google gets the overwhelming share of the DNS function and users never know anything changed.
Now I am not the world’s biggest fan of Google and I agree with both of these gentlemen that there is a good chance that there is another reason for this move by Google but what if we are all wrong.
What if it really is only about the speed. After all Google can’t be evil in everything it does.. can it?