I guess we shouldn't be surprised to see Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) providing the nuts and bolts of Internet traffic management for free. Still, the free Google Domain Name Service (DNS) comes from way out in left field, so let's figure out what Big G is getting out of this new commitment.

DNS servers are part of the glue that holds the Internet together. When you type "www.google.com" into your Web browser, a DNS server translates that readable address into a series of numbers and dots that make more sense to machines, and then the connection can continue. Unless you manage computer networks for a living, like I did for six years, all of this is transparent action behind the scenes that you probably never have to worry about.

And your Internet service provider handles the translation requests with its own DNS servers. A Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA) cable modem gets the information from Comcast's machines; Verizon (NYSE:VZ) FiOS or DSL connections knock on Verizon's door, and so on. There is a small cottage industry that provides freely available alternatives to the service providers' DNS services, but again, most people just don't care.

So why would you use a Google DNS server? Google claims that its implementation of the technology gives you increased security and faster performance than what your default service already gives you, partly thanks to Google's global network of fully functional data centers that stand ready to serve your DNS and search needs.

There's no reason why other globally connected IT shops couldn't start a similar service. But Google is doing it while the likes of Amazon.com (NASDAQ:AMZN), Akamai Technologies (NASDAQ:AKAM), and Yahoo! (NASDAQ:YHOO) remain on the sidelines. It's easy to see why the others aren't too eager to jump in: Nobody gets paid for DNS requests, and the current crop of alternative services make money by selling ads on their error pages. Google doesn't even do that, and promises to keep data mining to a minimum. Again, why spend the money and resources to hand out a free service that most people never cared about?

The answer is obvious: Google wants the Web to work better, feel faster, and overall become a more pleasant experience. Happy users who don't have to wait for slowly loading pages will end up browsing more, and then the ad clicks go up too. Google makes money when the average surfer is happy. This service is just a small piece of that effort to improve your browsing experience, alongside the Android mobile platform and many other not-too-obvious money makers.

Should we all put on our tinfoil hats and move into survivalist bunkers, or is Google really just trying to help? Let the flame wars begin in the comments below.

Fool contributor Anders Bylund owns shares in Google and Akamai, but he holds no other position in any of the companies discussed here. He has never worn a tinfoil hat, much preferring a stylish bell-laden Fool cap. Akamai Technologies and Google are Motley Fool Rule Breakers recommendations. Amazon.com is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor recommendation. Try any of our Foolish newsletters today, free for 30 days. You can check out Anders' holdings and a concise bio if you like, and The Motley Fool is investors writing for investors.