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Timothy B. Lee

Timothy B. Lee

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Brian Fung

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Andrea Peterson

Andrea Peterson covers technology policy for The Washington Post, with an emphasis on cybersecurity, consumer privacy, transparency, surveillance and open government. She also delves into the societal impacts of technology access and how innovation is intertwined with cultural development.

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Posted at 03:02 PM ET, 05/31/2012

Google applies for .google, .youtube, and .lol domain names

(Karen Bleier - AFP/Getty Images)
Google said Thursday it has applied for the Internet identifiers “.google,” “.docs” and “.youtube,” with the planned expansion of the Web’s domain name system.

Aside from the suffixes that reflect their brands and services, the search giant said in a blog post that it has also applied for a bunch of other domain names that “we think have interesting and creative potential.”

The rush for top level domain names comes amid a controversial decision in 2008 by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers to expand the Web’s suffixes. About half of all domain names are of the “.com” suffix, which was first introduced in 1984. Some Web experts say the Internet risks running out of Web addresses and have pushed for new top level domain names to be introduced by ICANN.

ICANN, based in Marina del Rey, Calif., closed applications for new domain names on Wednesday and said it plans to list new domain name applications on June 13.

Critics say the process of rolling out domain names has led to a legal and administrative nightmare for companies that are forced to apply for domain names to protect their trademarks. Some federal regulators have called on the multi-stakeholder organization, run by an international board, to pare down how many domain names are approved to clamp down on potential.

Google is first among the major U.S. companies to announce their applications. The search giant said it has been working with ICANN and will work with the non-governmental international group in its own quest for new domain names. It didn’t elaborate in the blog what other domain names it wants aside from “.lol.”

“We’re just beginning to explore this potential source of innovation on the web, and we are curious to see how these proposed new TLDs will fare in the existing TLD environment,” Google’s chief evangelist Vint Cerf wrote in the blog. “By opening up more choices for Internet domain names, we hope people will find options for more diverse — and perhaps shorter — signposts in cyberspace.”


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