A YEAR AGO, Google introduced one of those time-saving tricks that makes the cold, relentless march of time just a little bit more bearable: You could suddenly create a new Google doc simply by typing doc.new into your URL bar. Ditto spreadsheets, calendar events, and other Google-specific tasks. Now Google’s making that small magic available to the rest of the internet as well.
That’s just a sample of Google’s first dozen outside .new domain denizens. Open season for the rest of the web fast approaches. Trademark owners can register those names with a .new domain now through January 14 of next year. And starting December 2, anyone can apply for their own .new during Google’s Limited Registration Period.
As far as land grabs go, the pursuit of .new domains will be pretty structured. As noted above, Google already hand-picked the first registrants; it’s allowed to dole out up to 100 total at its discretion before broadening the field. And once the general public can apply, Google will vet entrants to make sure that they intend to use .new as intend: for “action generation or online creation flows,” as the company’s policy page puts it. In other words, sending people to a .new address online has to save them a step. The only exception is if they have to get through a sign-in page first.
At a glance, the proliferation of .new sites will mean a bunch of handy new shortcuts. Fun! But it also represents an interesting shift in how you expect certain aspects of the web to act. “Right now we see [domains] as gateways to the web, bringing people to these static pages,” said Google program manager Stephanie Duchesneau at a summit hosted by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers this spring. “But we really wanted the domain to be doing even more work.”