The internet relies on a service called DNS (Wikipedia) to, among other things, translate things like "microsoft.com" into a IP network address like 188.8.131.52.
For the last six months or so, the router on our home network has been using OpenDNS to resolve network addresses, not the default name services supplied by our ISP, Comcast. I’ve been using OpenDNS because it blocks access known malware sites (should one of our computers become infected). If I ever wanted to, I could use it to block access to NSFW sites, etc. It’s also much faster than Comcast’s DNS.
Today, Google got into the DNS for end users game, announcing the Google Public DNS. I’ve switched the router to use Google’s public DNS servers rather than OpenDNS, just to see what’s what. So far, I don’t see any difference in speed. Google promises a very high performance system, security, and privacy. OpenDNS has responded to Google’s announcement. Their best arguments for their service over Google’s include the ability to configure how the DNS responds to your queries and, well, let me quote them: "it’s not clear that Internet users really want Google to keep control over so much more of their Internet experience than they do already — from Chrome OS at the bottom of the stack to Google Search at the top, it is becoming an end-to-end infrastructure all run by Google, the largest advertising company in the world." As someone whose personal IT infrastructure is heavily vested in Google, I always wonder how far "Do no evil" goes and who gets to define "evil".
TechCrunch has an interesting piece about this, as well.