Google has applied to operate more than a hundred new generic top-level domains (gTLDs), but what does Google have in mind for .chrome?
“It’s arguably the largest change to the domain system in years”
The world wide web is about to undergo a metamorphosis that will introduce top level domain names (TLDs) like .guru, .construction, and possibly even .app. It’s arguably the largest change to the domain system in years, with the potential to affect everyone who uses the web. The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), the organization responsible for the change, has shifted into overdrive working to process more than 2,000 applications.
Among those applications lie 101 that bear Google’s name, in spirit that is. Technically the name on the applications is Charleston Road Registry Inc., the subsidiary that submitted them on behalf of the search giant. Included are .ads, .chrome, .hangout, .meme, .rsvp, and more.
“the .chrome application is for a ‘Brand TLD'”
Unlike typical top level domain names, which allow end users to register their own namespace for an annual fee, the .chrome application is for a “Brand TLD”. This distinction is important; it means that Google is asking to be allowed full editorial control over which namespaces are allowed. In practice this means that Joe Average won’t be able to register “joe.chrome”, but instead that only official Chrome related websites will be able to use the address.
Google hasn’t officially commented on what sites they intend to place on .chrome, but as part of the application process they were required to state an intended usage. It can be viewed on the ICANN Application Status Page, but here is the relevant paragraph:
“The mission of this gTLD, .chrome, is to provide a dedicated domain space in which Google can enact second-level domains that offer content, products and⁄or services that develop or promote the Chrome ecosystem. Specifically, the new gTLD will provide Google with greater ability to categorize its present Chrome locations online and provide a more recognizable, branded, trusted web space to the general Internet population.”
That may sound purposefully vague, but the gist is that Google wants to leverage it as a tool for separating official and unofficial Chrome resource websites. Unofficial resources, run by third-parties and community organizers, will probably not be granted a .chrome domain name. That honor will be more than likely be reserved only for official, Google owned websites.
It’s reasonable to infer that resources like the Chromebook.com website may be moved to a .chrome domain, along with the official support centre. The Chrome Web Store may see a new home, but any chance of developers being able to have a dedicated .chrome domain for their app is probably wishful thinking.
To date, the .chrome application has only passed the initial evaluation, and its status as an applicant could still change. That’s true of nearly all of Google’s applications though. The only gTLD to have been successfully delegated is .みんな, which is Japanese and translates to “everyone”. In fact, visiting http://nic.みんな will redirect you to Google’s Registry page.
What sites do you think Google will move to a .chrome domain? Let us know your best guess in the comments.