Google applies for 50 top-level domains, including .lol

Search giant hopes the new domain system will diversify the web

Google has applied to run more than 50 new top-level domains (TLDs), as part of a programme by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) to expand the current pool of 22 suffixes, which includes .com, .info, .net, and .org.

Google's applications fall into four categories: trademarks like .google, domains related to its core business like .docs, domains that enable quick identification of content like .youtube, and domains that have "interesting and creative potential," like .lol.

Google's Chief Internet Evangelist, Vint Cerf, said in a blog post that the company was only just beginning to explore this potential source of innovation on the web.

"We are curious to see how these proposed new TLDs will fare in the existing TLD environment," he said. "By opening up more choices for Internet domain names, we hope people will find options for more diverse - and perhaps shorter - signposts in cyberspace."

He added that Google is working with ICANN-accredited registrars and brand owners to develop rights protection mechanisms and ensure that security and abuse prevention are prioritised.

ICANN first announced its intention to expand the number of generic TLDs in 2008, with the aim of broadening the scope of the internet and moving it away from a US-centric domain structure. The plan is expected to bring significant benefits to Internet users, including the ability to create new TLDs in non-Latin, non-English scripts.

However, the application process has suffered numerous delays, due to concerns over trademark infringement and "cybersquatting". ICANN has conducted over 45 public consultations on the plan, and several measures have been put in place to protect trademark owners.

Earlier this week, ICANN finally closed registrations for new TLDs, and announced that the full list of applied-for domain names would be announced at a "Reveal Day" event in London on 13 June. Each application cost $185,000 and ICANN said it had received more than 1,900 in total.

So far, firms other than Google have revealed they have applied for .cloud, .global, .web, .music, .bank and .press. TLDs that have been applied for by more than one company will go to auction.

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Sophie Curtis

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