googleGoogle announced today that it’s launching its own DNS resolution service, which it says will improve the experience of browsing the web. (See our easy setup instructions at the end of this post.)

A DNS service directs your web browser by translating a domain name like www.venturebeat.com into an IP address that represents the website’s location. (DNS stands for Domain Name System, by the way.) Now, if you didn’t know that already, you may not be the audience for Google Public DNS, which it says is aimed at folks who are “web-savvy and comfortable with changing [their] network settings.” But if you’re interested, you can check it out and install it. once you do, Google Public DNS will handle all your domain translation as you browse the web.

Google says using its service, rather than your normal DNS resolution, has three main benefits: It uses load balancing and caching technology to deliver faster performance; it’s more secure against attacks that would direct browsers to a malicious site; and it never blocks, filters, or redirects users. The company also says it plans to share what it learns with other DNS providers, “ultimately making the web faster for everyone.”

A company called OpenDNS offers similar services, and its founder David Ulevitch published a blog post today contrasting OpenDNS’ approach with Google’s. Here’s a quote from his conclusion:

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. I prefer a heterogeneous Internet with lots of parties collaborating to make this thing work as opposed to an Internet run by one big company.

How to use Google DNS: Switch your computer’s DNS server(s) to 8.8.8.8 and 8.8.4.4. If you need instructions for how to make the change, see Google’s documentation.