Google is dipping its toes into the domain registrar business. The company has announced a beta service called Google Domains that looks very much like the beginnings of a full-fledged domain registrar business.
The service is invite-only at the moment, and interested parties can request an invite via the link above. Just pretend to search for a domain name and you’ll get prompted to ask for an invite.
The Google Domains landing page has links like “Manage my domains” and “Transfer a domain name.” A separate Features page shows what Google is planning for this service:
- $12 domain registrations
- no extra cost for private registrations
- email aliases
- customizable sub-domains
- domain management tools (i.e., CNAME records, etc.)
What’s not clear is how many generic top-level domains the service currently supports. The domain name space is expanding dramatically, and on that Features page, Google says it “will be working to provide you with as many options as possible so you can find the most relevant and meaningful names as you get started online.”
In its announcement, Google goes out of its way to emphasize the beta nature of Google Domains:
Google Domains isn’t fully-featured yet, but we’re giving a small group of people the ability to buy and transfer domains through it and send feedback on their experience. (You currently need an invitation code to do so, sorry!) We want input on all the ways we can help make finding, buying, transferring and managing a domain a simple and transparent experience. We also want to make sure our customer support and infrastructure works flawlessly, and that we have the right additional services (like mobile website creation tools and hosting services from a range of providers, as well as domain management support). We’re working with some of the top website building providers like +Shopify, +Squarespace, +Weebly, and +Wix.com to help make that happen.
A domain registration service makes perfect sense for Google, which has been an accredited registrar for many years. It fits right in with Google’s Get Your Business Online efforts and its recent Google My Business portal.
Aside from .com, .net, .org, and .biz, a Google spokesperson is unable to confirm for us which gTLDs will be available when Google Domains rolls out more widely.