The Domain Name System (DNS) protocol is responsible for turning user-friendly domain names like google.com into the numerical 126.96.36.199 IP address understood by computers. Back in December 2009, Google Public DNS launched and the service just celebrated its 188.8.131.52 anniversary, while teasing upcoming announcements in light of increased competition.
This particular anniversary occurred yesterday on August 12th, 2018 at 12:30 AM UTC and marks eight years, eight months, eight days, and eight hours since the original announcement. Google chose this occasion to coincide with how the public IP address of its Public DNS service is 184.108.40.206 (and 220.127.116.11). It’s memorability helps when users configure network settings and set their DNS servers.
Google notes a recent study that pegs usage of 18.104.22.168 at 10% of internet users. As the largest public DNS resolver, hundreds of millions of users result in a trillion queries served per day. A “big part” of growth comes from free public internet, like services in San Francisco parks and LinkNYC kiosk hotspots.
It is also used by Google Station in Indian railway locations, while ISPs in Africa and Southeast Asia rely on it to resolve customer DNS queries, with Google noting that it’s in line with the Next Billion Users initiative. Additionally, in recent history, Google Public DNS played a role in getting Turkish users online after the government blocked Twitter.
Back in 2009, Google’s goal for launching a public DNS resolver was to make the web faster by leveraging its global data center and caching infrastructure.
Google Public DNS resolvers’ DNS caches hold tens of billions of entries worldwide. And because hundreds of millions of clients use them every day, they usually return the address for your domain queries without extra lookups, connecting you to the internet that much faster.
On the security front, Google published a privacy practice statement noting what the collected information is used for “and how it’s not used,” while also working to secure it from hijacking attempts and denial of service attacks.
Looking forward, Google acknowledges recent and notable entries into the space, including Cloudflare’s 22.214.171.124 in April. Noting that security is still a focus, Google teased “exciting Google Public DNS announcements in the near future.”