It's might not be an intuitive concept, but the real estate market of the Internet is running out of room. It's been happening for some time now, so it's not exactly a surprise but it's something that has to be addressed, preferably sooner than later. Google, always with an eye on the future, has it covered.
In a post earlier today from their official blog, Google announced that they have joined Internet Society to coordinate a world-wide launch of the next-generation Internet protocol later this year, IPv6. The post explains the urgency of this launch:
IPv6 is the replacement for the current version of the Internet Protocol, IPv4, which is quickly running out of addresses. The original IPv6 specification was published more than 15 years ago, but for the entire career of most Internet engineers its deployment has always been in the future. Now it’s finally here. The widespread deployment of IPv6 paves the way for connecting together the billions of devices that permeate our livesーboth fixed and mobile, from the largest cloud computing services to the smallest sensors.
For Google, World IPv6 Launch means that virtually all our services, including Search, Gmail, YouTube and many more, will be available to the world over IPv6 permanently. Previously, only participants in the Google over IPv6 program (several hundred thousand users, including almost all Google employees [PDF]) have been using it every day. Now we’re including everyone.
Google's been active in preparing World IPv6 since last year, but IPv4 has been "officially depleted" since they started working with Internet Society. Previously, websites only switched over to IPv6 for a 24-hour dry run, but now the plan is that IPv6 will be here to stay come June. By promoting World IPv6 Launch, Google hopes to persuade websites, ISPs, network device manufacturers, and other online entities to make the permanent switch to IPv6 together.
Although Google says that most users can expect a seamless transition and likely won't notice anything different after IPv6 turns on, they do encourage people to check out their connections using Google's test page just to be on the safe side.