It’s finally here—the US’ public beta of Google Domains has officially launched, complete with more than 60 brand new TLDs. It made the big debut on January 13, and comes with a plethora of improvements and features. It’s no secret that Google has been trying to take on top registrars like Sedo and Verisign (and even GoDaddy!), but does Google Domains have what it takes? Since domain names have the power to make or break your business, and everyone knows it, it’s a potentially uber lucrative move for Google.
Back in June, the first version was launched by invitation only, and that happened right on the heels of GoDaddy filing an IPO request. The good news (for Google) is that summer move put off the IPO and bought the company time to create more features and services in an attempt to take over a realm that for so long has been held by GoDaddy and other top providers.
There’s a reason that summer release was by invitation only: Google knew there were kinks to work out. It’s been reported that domain forwarding, private registration services, email forwarding and sub-domains were part of the initial hosting offering. However, now that the beta has gone public, it’s much easier to see how well Google Domains will be adopted. It’s sink or swim time.
Blogger, which is part of Google, is of course highly supported by the latest adaptation. This puts it on par with the likes of Wix and Squarespace when it comes to making DIY website building a breeze for consumers. Of course, WordPress is still dominating in this space, but Google is taking on one “competitor” at a time. With a simpler dashboard, early beta testers in round two report that it’s easier to find templates, build websites, and it’s generally a better experience.
Do You Really Need Anything Besides a .com?
With TLDs in the US, a .com, .org, .gov and .edu option is really all that’s necessary, but Google is all about the options. There are dozens of brand new ones introduced by Google including the .ventures and .academy to spice things up. Couple that with a better Dynamic DNS, more relevant suggestions and improved searches, and Google Domains might just have a fighting chance. According to Google spokespeople, the changes are directly stemming from the early beta tester’s experience.
Next up? International launches, and there’s already a live link available to sign up for notification for when Google Domains comes to your country. However, for now it’s best to just sit back and watch. A myriad of more features and changes will probably be happening in 2015, and Google has said that the service isn’t completed integrated with Google Apps quite yet.
As for GoDaddy? The host with the most (for now) has improved its own portfolio with more designer hosting, developer products, and tools for small business ecommerce. The domain registration environment is changing, and GoDaddy isn’t going down without a fight. The Google Domains launch led to a two percent increase in Google stock—simultaneously bringing Wix stock down by five percent.