Already a Goliath among companies in terms of search, social networking and all things Internet, Google is now launching a domain name registration service. As such, it is squaring off against GoDaddy, a giant in its own right as the world's largest domain name registrar.
On Monday, Google rolled out Google Domains -- an invitation-only beta service. Google is touting its new service as a way for companies to easily find, buy, transfer and manage a Web address.
Until now, Google has said it did not register or host domain names, instead referring users to partners like GoDaddy.com and eNom.com to purchase their domain names.
But Things Change
"It's 2014 and it seems obvious, but across laptops, tablets and mobile devices, a Web site is one of the first places people go to find information about a business," Google said in a blog post. "But amazingly, our research shows that 55 percent of small businesses still don't have one."
Earlier this month, GoDaddy filed for an initial public offering of $100 million -- a number that could change.
In 2013, GoDaddy handled more than 11 billion domain name queries per day and hosted 8.5 million Web sites. The company also reported a loss of $199.9 million, although less than the $279.3 million loss it posted a year earlier, and revenue rose 24 percent. Still, Google's plans mostly likely will not have a positive effect on its "partner."
Trying to Help Small Biz
In its blog post, Google said that since it was looking at ways to help small businesses succeed online, it made sense to look more closely at the starting point of every business's online presence -- a Web site. And that starts with a domain name.
"We're beginning to invite a small number of people to kick the tires on Google Domains, a domain registration service we're in the process of building," Google said in the blog post. "Businesses will be able to search, find, purchase and transfer the best domain for their business -- whether it's .com, .biz, .org, or any of the wide range of new domains that are being released to the Web."
Although Google Domains isn't fully featured yet, the company is inviting a small group of people to buy and transfer domains through it and send feedback on their experiences. In addition to offering users a "simple, transparent experience," Google also wants to ensure its customer support and infrastructure works flawlessly.
The Internet giant's goal is to make Google Domains more widely available soon. To that end, it is working to ensure that the right additional services are in place, like mobile Web site creation tools and hosting services from a range of providers, as well as domain management support.
"We're working with some of the top Web site building providers like Shopify, Squarespace, Weebly, and Wix.com to help make that happen," the blog post said.