It's no secret that Google applied for 101 gTLDs in ICANN's recent yard sale. The company applied for all kinds of domains from .tech and .soy to the usual suspects like .google and .youtube. It seems that there might be more at play here beyond Google wanting to just start out strong in the Internet land grab race.
CNET has dug up Google's plans for its gTLD applications and it's pretty surprising. It would appear that Google wants to offer up many of the domains it has applied for to the public. In that sense, Google would become a competitor to Go Daddy by selling the domains to places like .book and .shop.
It makes sense for Google to walk this path when the other tech companies did not. Offering domains allows Google to have its hand in one more of the Internet's cookie jars. Whereas Apple and Microsoft just want to have domains for their own personal use, Google is on track to becoming everything to everyone. Offering domains is just the next step in this strategy.
As you can see in this excellent graphic from CNET's James Martin, Google will be offering some domains to everybody, some to select parties and reserving the rest for its own internal operations:
We can ignore the Google only domains for now because it's pretty obvious what they're going to be used for. It's far more interesting to speculate on the domains that will be used by all or select parties. Starting with the domains that will be leased out to anybody, it's interesting to note that Google is offering things like .book and .buy while domains like .music and .movie will only be offered to some.
Using the specific examples of .music and .movie, more than just professional studios offer these services. When Google is willing to allow anybody to register a domain of .book for their newest novel, but requires something else for anybody interested in using .music; it's causes a little concern. Will Google allow an independent artist to register a .music domain, or do they have to be signed with a major label to gain access?
The ICANN gTLD registry has the amazing potential to open the Web to more targeted domains that make it easier for people to find what they want. If Google wants to get in the business of offering their domains to the public, that's fine. They should not, however, allow for abuse on either side. Independent artists and businesses have just as much a right to domains like .movie and .car that the major players in these businesses do. Here's hoping Google is less than stingy with their domains.
It's important to note that Google might not end up with even half of these domains. Many of them were applied for by multiple parties and it's up to ICANN to decide who gets them. Most of the domains could end up in another party's hands. It's still pretty wild to consider that Google could one day be the steward of such powerful new domains like .film and .phd.