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Google is finally starting to pay closer attention to the domain registry space, with the search giant launching a beta, invite only registration service called Google Domains.
People looking for domains on the web will soon have another vendor to choose from Google.
The company announced that it is slowly opening up access to Google Domains, a service that gives people the ability to buy domains from one of the biggest companies on the web. Google’s small business division decided to launch the project, because the company found 55 percent of small businesses don’t already have a website. Clearly, Google thinks it can make a play to get those businesses started on the web.
A move into the registry market was always on the cards for Google, although the company has taken its time.
Almost two years ago, Google submitted applications to the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) for more than 50 top-level domain names almost. However, it has waited until now to start testing a brand new service.
The company has begun sending out invites to a small number of people to kick the tires on Google Domains.Businesses will be able to search, find, purchase and transfer the best domain for their business ,whether it’s .com, .biz, .org or any of the wide range of new domains that are being released to the Web.Google Domains isn’t fully-featured yet, but Google is giving a small group of people the ability to buy and transfer domains through it and send feedback on their experiences.
With their registration, users will get up to 100 email aliases that can forward to existing mail accounts, free private registration which keeps users’ personal information out of their global WHOIS record and easy forwarding from one domain to another.
Right now, Google Domains is invite-only as the company continues to build out its service. Google won’t provide hosting but it has partnered with Squarespace, Shopify, Wix.com and Weebly to provide hosting services to registrants.
The move makes sense, since people looking to stake a claim on the web often turn to Google to find whether a domain name is available or not. Google’s brand name will also probably curry favor among small business owners who want to open a website.
It’s a business that’s ripe for Google’s disruption. Domain registration can be confusing and overly technical to people who aren’t familiar with the inner workings of the internet and the registration process can feel like buying a used car, as companies try to tack on add-ons to a domain registration bill.
The domains play is also a chance for Google to promote services from its Google Cloud Platform to companies that end up needing to scale beyond the capabilities of a traditional hosting provider.
Google Domains boasts free private registrations, 10 million resolutions per year on Google’s DNS servers, branded email that forwards to an existing mail account (not to be confused with Google Apps domain support) and domain forwarding. Google says it will support a variety of different gTLDs (generic top level domains), including offerings such as .photography and .guru that are rolling out over the next few months.
Google will also offer easy-access to additional site-building services from Squarespace, Shopify, Wix and Weebly for an additional fee for users that want an all-in-one approach to building out a website.
Users who want to try out Google Domains can request an invitation code by entering a domain they want into the service’s website, and then clicking on the resulting ‘I’d like to request an invitation code’ link.