Google and Facebook join warnings over future of the web
Web addresses could run out as soon as November and to raise public awareness Google and Facebook will switch their websites to a new system for one day in June.
On June 8, Google, Facebook, Yahoo and a host of other leading web companies will turn on a new way of running web addresses.
The system, called IPv6, is designed to stop the world running out of the web addresses that underlie the locating of websites and devices – but just 0.2pc of web users currently have access to it. World IPv6 Day is designed to encourage its adoption.
Vint Cerf, one of the web’s founding fathers, is leading a global campaign to encourage web service providers and IT managers to switch from the current system, IPv4, to IPv6.
The new standard offers many trillions of new web addresses, but cannot be accessed from modems and routers that only use IPv4.
It is likely, however, that most of the changes needed will take place without consumers losing access to any part of the web because they will be part of the standard upgrade cycle.
The availability of new web addresses will, it is hoped, allow more connected devices, such as tablet computers, as well as permitting more mundane devices to gain web addresses.
Mr Cerf gave the example of a cork in a wine bottle using a web address to tell its owner when the optimal time to drink it is and its location.
Writing on the Google Blog, Network Engineer Lorenzo Colitti said that “Google has been supporting IPv6 since early 2008, when we first began offering search over IPv6.
"Since then we’ve brought IPv6 support to YouTube and have been helping ISPs enable Google over IPv6 by default for their users.
"On World IPv6 Day, we’ll be taking the next big step. Together with major web companies such as Facebook and Yahoo!, we will enable IPv6 on our main websites for 24 hours.”
He added, however, that “Our current measurements suggest that the vast majority (99.95pc) of users will be unaffected. However, in rare cases, users may experience connectivity problems, often due to misconfigured or misbehaving home network devices.”