Since 2008, ICANN, the committee responsible for managing the system of generic top-level domains like .com and .edu, has touted the possibility of custom brand- or concept-based TLDs. The window for applications closes in a few hours, and now Google has revealed that it hopes to use more than just the .google domain one might expect. The company says it applied for .docs, .youtube, and other core service names, which would be used to make navigation easier for users. A YouTube domain, for example, would "increase the ease with which channels and genres can be identified." That means individual users could get something like "theverge.youtube" instead of the current "youtube.com/theverge."
That's not, however, the limit of Google's ambition. It's also applying for "domains we think have interesting and creative potential, such as .lol." Unlike the aforementioned service names, this feels more like an attempt to create entire genres of content grouped along TLDs, an impressive goal considering how dominated the internet currently is by .com addresses. This is one of the first attempts to jump-start domain expansion beyond, say, the largely failed .biz or .info suffixes. Having Google behind the domains will certainly help, but we'll have to wait until June 13th to even see what it or any other company has applied for.