Google has taken the interesting step of launching a set of public DNS servers. DNS stands for "domain name service" and is the bit of the Web that translates web addresses like "" into IP addresses of the servers that contain the websites.

Google refers to it, in the blog post announcing the launch, as "the switchboard of the internet", pointing out that the average web user makes hundreds of DNS lookups every day, so using a slow, unreliable server will slow down your web access.

Google reasons that the faster and more reliable the Web is, the more people will use it and the more it'll be able to sell ads, so that's the commercial rationale behind the launch. The search giant says that it'll share what it learns from the experiment with the broader web community and other DNS providers.

We've just tested the servers and found them to work okay, but if you want to switch to Google's DNS servers, you do so at your own risk. Just follow the instructions published by the company on its code pages. Google recommends that "only users who are proficient with configuring operating system settings make these changes".