Back in June, Google launched Google Domains on an invitation-only basis, effectively making the search giant a domain registrar. Noting that 55% of small businesses still didn't have a website, Google set out to make it easier for them to get one.
At first, Google invited a small number of people to "kick the tires" on the service. It partnered with website building service providers like Shopify, Squarespace, Weebly, and Wix.com and helped get businesses like Scott Pincus Design and Hidden Springs Soap new domains and websites.
Now, Google has opened up the service to anyone in the United States. The service is still in beta, but now it's open beta. If you live here, you no longer need an invitation. If you live outside of the U.S. and wish to be alerted when Google Domains becomes available in your country, you can sign up here.
Since the initial launch, Google has made some improvements to the service, and while it's still relatively basic as domain services go, it should be more than enough to get small businesses up and running on the web. Improvements have been made to search and domain name suggestion, TLD availability (over sixty new domain endings), the dashboard, integration with Blogger, template browsing, and Dynamic DNS.
Dynamic DNS lets you direct your domain or subdomain to a resource that's behind a gateway that has a dynamically assigned IP address. To use it with Google Domains, you set up a synthetic record that sets up an A record for your domain or subdomain that lets Google name servers know to expect a dynamic IP. It also generates a username and password for your host or server to use to communicate the new IP address to the name servers. More on setting this up here.
Google Domains offers the following TLDs ranging from $12 to $110 per year: .academy, .actor, .bike, .biz, .builders, .cab, .camera, .camp, .careers, .cc, .center, .clothing, .co, .com, .coffee, .company, .computer, .construction, .consulting, .contractors, .dance, .democrat, .diamonds, .directory, .domains, .education, .email, .enterprises, .equipment, .estate, .florist, .futbol, .gallery, .glass, .guru, .haus, .holdings, .immobilien, .industries, .info, .institute, .international, .kaufen, .land, .limo, .maison, .management, .me, .moda, .net, .ninja, .org, .partners, .parts, .photography, .photos, .plumbing, productions, .properties, .pub, .recipes, .rentals, .repair, .reviews, .shoes, .singles, .social, .solar, .solutions, .supplies, .supply, .support, .systems, .technology, .tips, .today, .tools, .training, .us, .vacations, and .ventures.
Customers can add up to ten years of registration for domains. The service charges the same amount for each year. Domains can be auto-renewed.
They also include Whois privacy, domain/subdomain forwarding, email forwarding (forwarding of email aliases), Google nameservers with 10 million DNS resolutions per year, and support via help center, email, chat, or phone.
There is also Google Apps integrationallowing you to create user accounts for your domain and provide them with Drive, Sites, etc.
Google Domains offers both aftermarket and registry premium domains. The former are offered for resale by owners for a premium price. The latter are obviously offered by the registry for a premium price. More details about all of this here.
When you buy or transfer a domain to Google Domains, you can start building your site with one of the aforementioned website builder providers. There are various plans for various prices. More on this process here.
You can get started here if you like.
Images via Google