google trying to speed up the web

Today, google have announced a new public DNS set up that they reckon will help speed up the web. If you don’t have a clue what DNS is then don’t go messing around with your network settings – it’ll only end in tears.

google public dns

DNS stands for domain name system, and basically it connects words to numbers. Websites, as we know them, are, but in reality that address is a series of numbers like It’s much easier to remember a name rather than a number like that, so that’s why we have domain names. Anyway, it takes time to convert your words in to numbers, make sure the site exists and then send you information back and Google hope to reduce the time that whole process takes.

I made the switch temporarily and did notice a slight difference, so you can look at it as a case of “every little helps”. On the flip side, this new service from google would be an extremely powerful information gathering machine in the wrong hands.

Google already have search data on anyone with a google account and if they wanted to, they could now link that data with this new data and track IP addresses and every single site you visit (regardless of whether you get to it through google). They could tell how long you’re on the site, how often you visit it etc… notice i’m using words like ‘could’ – google could also view your email account if they wanted to… but it’s something we like to think doesn’t / cannot happen.

The privacy policy is here but when i first heard about this i instantly thought to myself – ‘better ad targetting’ as that’s how i’d view this if i was google. Speeding up the web could perhaps be a smokescreen and it’s one a lot of people are wary of already. But we’ll see how it goes…

Moving on from that, Youtube (owned by google of course) also announced a new ‘feather’ BETA version which is basically youtube without all the crap nobody needs or wants like that ‘turn off the lights’ feature. They reckon it reduces load time slightly and is less stressful on netbooks so it results in small speed increases.

youtube feather

Again i’ve tested it out and i like it – it’s how youtube should be. Light versions should be the default version, not the other way around in my opinion. Anyway, little tweaks like these make big differences.

The need for speed is greater than ever before and it’s still probably the biggest challenge we have to overcome in IT. How often have you not been able to stream a youtube video without it stalling and stuttering along? Too often (well, if you’re in Ireland anyway). Playing a youtube video is like the 56k dial up wait of 2009…


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