One of the hottest generic TLDs up for grabs by some of the Internet's biggest companies was .App. According to reports, Google has now won that TLD, and is paying a whopping $25 million for it.
According to Domain Name Wire, that's likely a record-breaking price for a TLD, and Google has been battling 12 other companies, including Amazon, for its rights. With those rights, Google will now be able to offer other businesses access to domains that end in .app, just as they have started doing with other domains. Domain Name Wire reports:
With the domain in hand, it’s possible Google can limit registrations to companies that have an app in Google Play, or use the domains to point directly to app listings in the store. However, its application suggests that it will allow the domain name to be more universally used:
The mission of the proposed gTLD, .app, is to provide a dedicated domain space for application developers. The term “app” is associated with a wide variety of applications, including mobile applications, web- and browser-based applications, cloud-hosted applications and even desktop applications. Charleston Road Registry expects uses of the gTLD will include a wide variety of uses across all of these types of applications, not limited to any specific platform or provider. The proposed gTLD will enhance consumer choice by providing new availability in the second-level domain space in which application developers can deliver new content and offerings. It also creates new layers of organization on the Internet and signals the kind of content available in the domain.
Google Registry has so far launched three TLDs including .soy (for U.S. Hispanics), .みんな (in Japanese), and most recently, .how, which it describes as a domain for teaching. We delved more into that one here.
The Google Registry site lists TLDs that are "coming next," and these include: .DAD, .ESQ, .HERE, .MEME, .PROF, .ZIP, .ADS, .DAY, .FLY, .MOV, .RSVP, .BOO, .EAT, .FOO, .ING, and .NEW. The company actually already has descriptions for what each of these are for:
.App is absent from that list, but it's possible that Google simply hasn't added it yet because it just won it. It will be interesting to see if it is added to the list soon, because if it's not, that would suggest that Google intends to keep it for itself for something like what Domain Wire mentioned.
It seems likely that Google would sell the domains to third-parties, however, as it could make money on what could be a coveted new TLD that way. The app ecosystem only continues to grow massively, and Google's own efforts are fostering that growth on Android.
Earlier this week, Google announced that it is expanding paid search into the Google Play store, which will give Google a new (yet familiar) revenue stream, and give apps more opportunities for discoverability.
That's only in pilot testing mode now, but I don't really see a scenario in which this doesn't become an available offering to everyone down the road.
Google also announced that it is making some changes to how it ranks content in mobile search results. It's factoring in mobile-friendly content for one. It's also using information from indexed apps as a signal for signed-in users who have the apps installed on their devices.
On the domains front, Google opened up Google Domains in the U.S. last month.
Image via Google