Name resolution

夜神 岩男 supergiantpotato at
Wed Jul 6 03:23:23 UTC 2011

On Tue, 2011-07-05 at 13:28 -0700, Joe Zeff wrote:
> On 07/05/2011 11:31 AM, 夜神 岩男 wrote:
> > DNS query history would be the single most potent addition to Google's
> > profiling tags (as in naked profiling, on subjects who are not logged in
> > to a Google service or accepting tracking cookies or other devices).
> How do they keep track of people like me who have dynamic IP addresses? 
>   And, for that matter, I'm house sitting right now over fifty miles 
> from home using a friend's connection.  How can they tell that my DNS 
> queries are mine, not his?  (Not that I use Google's DNS, but the 
> question's still valid in the general case.)

The footprint of a user by Google's way of doing things is quite a bit
larger than cookies or IP tracking. They do not rely on any one set of
criteria, but instead use everything available to build a profile. You
browser type and version, what OS you are using and its flavor, the time
of day you are searching, the type of search if you use bang syntaxes,
recent affiliate add display history to the IP you are on (this is
probably one of the most powerful tools), what type of thing you are
searching for at the moment and, critically, what you are clicking on of
the results, etc. These things alone provide an extremely close picture
of the user(s), without resorting to cookies or relying too much on any
one particular type of data. (Look through your own web server logs and
you can discern patterns of use, even if you delete the IPs completely,
even without going into a very deep analysis.)

DNS query history can tighten the picture considerably and give insight
into things search cannot -- which is my point here. Google is a
for-profit company (as it should be), not a social service funded by
dreamy eyed populists who don't understand economics. I owned a good bit
of stock in them until recently, so they *better* be all about making
money and not about being nice. The expense involved in providing fast,
free DNS service everywhere at once is a good investment only if the
information harvested by the effort is used in a revenue bearing way or
unless the DNS service is to be suddenly changed to a for-pay service.
Considering the alternatives, for-pay DNS through anybody is
preposterous, and so that leaves data collection.

Considering what Google's non-cookie profiling methods are, DNS
collection makes perfect sense as a market to corner and to get insight
into everything that is not search based. This is a great strategy for
Google -- it is just not something I am going to expose myself to as a
user. DNS data collection puts Google in the best possible place for
data collection because they can harvest URL call that occurs outside of
search. This type of information, combined with their proven business
model, is too powerful to ignore, no matter what their FAQ says.


More information about the users mailing list