Google has announced that it is making the .app domains available to register starting today. The search giant had paid $25 million to gain exclusive rights to the “.app” top-level domain more than three years ago. The domains will be available for register starting today and running through May 7 at 9AM PT (or 9.30PM IST) through Google‘s early access program. The domains will go on sale for general public from May 8 including through other registrars.
The .app is a new top-level domain (TLD) certified by ICANN and is seen as an obvious choice for app developers and others in the tech industry. The domain serves as an easy to remember alternative to existing top-level domain. One of the major features of this new top-level domain is that Google is requiring HTTPs for all .app websites right from the start. This will ensure that all websites registered with “.app” domain will be secured with latest web protocol. Google says it will HTTPS will help “protect against ad malware and tracking injection by ISPs, in addition to safeguarding against spying on open WiFi networks.”
Google says by enforcing HTTPS security for all websites registered with the domain, it aims to ensure that the web moves to an ‘HTTPS-everywhere’ future. Google has been one of the strongest advocates of switch to HTTPS standard for all web domains and it recently confirmed that 64 percent of traffic through its Chrome browser was protected on Android last fall. It said that percent of traffic routed through HTTPS was up from 42 percent the year before. Google also confirmed that Chrome traffic on Mac was up to 75 percent while on Windows, it was up to 66 percent at the same time.
The growth in traffic routed via secure HTTPS connection was mainly driven by Google’s decision to flag all websites using HTTP to transmit private information as “insecure.” With the release of Chrome 68, Google decided to mark all pages communicating without HTTPS protocol as insecure starting in July.
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Ahead of the public launch, Google has already managed to rope in potential customers and has helped them grab a .app domain ahead of general availability. Some of the websites built on .app domain include Byjus, The Podcast App, MenaVR, Sitata, Picnic, Call App and many others from around the world. Google is expected to price .app domain names for $10-12 and retail registrations could be around $20. Google is expected to detail final pricing at the time of general availability on May 8.