Google Domains, Google’s own domain name registration service, has now exited private testing. This summer, the company unveiled the new service to fill a long-time void in the company’s product lineup, with a competitor to sites like NameCheap and GoDaddy (the latter which filed for a $100 million IPO just days before Google’s entry into the domain-selling space). Google’s service was previously available only to a small number of testers, but this morning, Google opened its doors to all in the U.S., and announced a number of new features alongside its public launch.
The service is still considered to be in beta testing, Google clarifies.
In case you missed it in June, Google’s first foray into the domain name registration market launched with support for a number of standard features, like free private registration, free email forwarding to your Gmail inbox, free domain forwarding, support for up to 100 sub-domains, and support for the growing number of new domain endings (like .guru and .club) that are now emerging.
Google said at the time its service also includes phone support, indicating Google’s intention to market it more to business customers.
To date, thousands of testers have signed up and registered domains during the private testing, but Google didn’t release exact numbers.
Additionally, Google partnered with a number of website-building providers when it launched into beta, making it easy for users to get started with setting up their new website after acquiring the domain name or names of their choosing. This list initially included Shopify, Squarespace, Weebly, and Wix. Google’s own Blogger platform wasn’t immediately supported, however – but it is today, the company notes. Users will now be able to buy a domain and instantly connect it to their Blogger blog, if they choose.
Customers will also be able to now browse website templates on Google Domains, while comparing plans and feature sets provided by Google’s website-building partners. Google tells us the temples will show in the Google Domains dashboard, which makes it easier to browse them, but they’re supported by Google Domains website-building partners.[gallery ids="1104579,1104580"]
Other improvements to the public service include a new, simplified dashboard for managing your domains, website and email settings; an improved search and suggestion experience; dynamic DNS integration; plus a the ability to register domains with over 60 new domain endings like .company, .florist, and .coffee. (The full list of endings is here. Over the next few years, ICANN will be releasing over 1,300 new domain endings, so this list will expand over time.)
Many of the new features were implemented at the suggestion of early testers, Google says.
The service is now available to any interested parties in the U.S., with full international support still on the horizon, and no ETA provided at this time. (You can sign up to be notified about this here, however.)
Google’s entry into the domain names market put a crimp on GoDaddy’s IPO plans, and impacted that of other web rivals. For instance, Web.com hit a one-year low in November after missing revenue expectations. Meanwhile, GoDaddy began stressing how it was working to diversify its product offerings to include more than just support for domain buying, but expanding into all aspects of helping customers run their online business.
Given its beta status, Google is still working to add more features to its service even as it launches to the general public. One notable omission at present is the ability to buy a domain then immediately connect it to a Google Apps account. But clearly, Google already has this on its roadmap – asked about support for this feature, a Google spokesperson told us there’s no Google Apps integration “yet.”