Google to create '.lol' web addresses
Google has revealed that it is bidding to run an array of new top-level domains, including ".google", ".youtube" and ".docs", as part of a major expansion of the web’s addressing system.
The search giant also said it applied to run “.lol”, a top-level domain that would refer to the common online abbreviation for “laugh out loud”. Google said it thought ".lol" had "interesting and creative potential".
In common with other applicants, Google had kept its plans cloaked in secrecy in an attempt to avoid rival bids until Thursday, when the deadline for applications passed.
In total Google made more than 50 applications to Icann, the closest organisation to a governing body for the internet, for new alternatives to “.com” or “.co.uk”, it was reported.
It means that Google could offer each YouTube channel its own simple address, for instance. The current www.youtube.com/joebloggs could become www.joebloggs.youtube.
Each application cost $185,000 and Icann said it had received more than 1,900 in total. The organisation will also receive a $25,000 annual fee for each new suffix once they are up and running from early next year.
Vint Cerf, one of the inventors of the internet, who now works for Google, said an expanded addressing system could make it easier to find things online.
“By opening up more choices for Internet domain names, we hope people will find options for more diverse - and perhaps shorter - signposts in cyberspace,” he wrote on the firm’s blog.
The decision by Icann to allow hundreds of new top-level domains has drawn heavy criticism from elsewhere, however. In particular, trademark experts have warned it could lead to a rash of disputes, and there have been claims the massively expanded web will offer lucrative new opportunities for cyber criminals and confusion for users.
Icann rejects the criticisms of its plans, which have been six years in the making.
The full list of almost 2,000 applications is due to be published on 13 June, following a delay caused by a technical glitch in the application system. So far firms other than Google have revealed they have applied for “.cloud”, “.global”, “.web”, “.music”, “.bank” and “.press” among others.
As well as such generic suffixes, like Google, many large firms have also applied to run top-level domains based on their brand names. While generic top-level domains may be fought over at auction, Icann has designed a process it says will ensure brand names will go to their rightful owners.