Could Google’s New gTLDs Be the Custom URL Answer at Google+?
Google plans to submit applications for several generic top-level domains (gTLDs) before the April 12th deadline for this round of submissions. ICANN previously said that 200-300 new TLDs will be approved in this initial round and each one annually, “with no more than 1,000 new gTLDs... added to the root zone in a year.”
The search giant doesn’t necessarily need to lock down TLDs unless they plan to use them, though they’re in a better position than some to foot the $185,000 bill per application. ICANN has stringent guidelines about who may register what, as far as TLDs go; Google needn’t worry about an enterprising squatter scooping up the .Google, .YouTube, or other TLDs for trademarked names.
As for their actual plans for the new TLDs, Google isn’t talking. A Google spokesperson did confirm to Advertising Age Google’s intent to purchase, saying in a written statement: "We plan to apply for Google's trademarked TLDs, as well as a handful of new ones. We want to help make this a smooth experience for web users -- one that promotes innovation and competition on the internet."
That statement seems to hint at changes for Google account users. It seems far more likely, in mind anyway, that Google would assign users an address corresponding with their username, rather than actually selling off domains for $10 or $20 a year. For example, a Google+ page address could become username.google, or a YouTube channel username.youtube.
It would be an interesting solution to the Google+ custom URL issue. Currently, it doesn’t seem brands can set a custom URL for their Google+ page; not through Google, anyway. If Google has been waiting to assign custom URLs from their own TLD, it would explain why a pretty necessary and expected feature has not yet been made available.