Google has announced that a new top-level domain (TLD) dubbed .dev will soon be available to the public, allowing individuals or groups to register websites that more accurately suit their line of work. The new TLD will be made available via the company's own early access program through February 28 before being made publicly available through any given registrar.
As its name implies, the new TLD is meant specifically for use by developers of all kind and will effectively help identify those amidst the growing mass of websites.
.dev will also be useful for developers who have a specific identification or web address in mind that may already be taken by a different site for another purpose. The addition of a new top-level domain expands the total number of domains available. For example, a new game developer that's chosen a branding or partial branding shared by a company not related to gaming might use a similar domain name to the other company but register their domain under the .dev registration.
For real-world examples, Google has listed several developer-related companies that have already signed up for or use the new TLD. Those include a domain for Pokemon GO developer Niantic's Real World Platform at "ar.dev" or Google's own "web.dev" domain.
The birth of a new web and other benefits
The new .dev TLD is not Google's first contribution to a growing list of top-level domains an organization or individual has to select from. In May of 2018, the company launched another such domain dubbed .app. Meant to cater to developers of a more specific type, the TLD is intended to be used for pages specific to a given application rather than the people or group behind the app.
.page is yet another TLD that the search giant has launched with a more individualized bent. The company lists use cases such as web pages introducing an author or public figure in its examples for those domains.
Each of Google's new TLDs brings at least one other benefit in addition to helping an individual or group identify themselves more accurately and helping others identify them as well. The new TLDs are a small part in a larger move by Google to push the Internet in an HTTPS-only direction. All websites registering under any of Google's TLDs are required to be secured by HTTPS.
While the standards surrounding HTTPS and the protocol itself isn't new and although HTTPS doesn't guarantee an individual site itself is safe, sites that do utilize it are more secure overall. It effectively adds a layer of SSL/TLS encryption protection to site traffic when applied properly.
Getting in now
As noted above, .dev will become publicly available after February 28 at a far lower, standardized price. Google hasn't listed specific pricing for the time being but that doesn't necessarily mean developers — whether developing on Android or not — should hold back if they want to snap up a domain name before somebody else does. Domain names can be checked, "pre-ordered," or taken live for a reasonable premium as part of the early access program via Google's registry and its associated registrars. Visitors to Google's .dev registry can also simply explore the site to see domains that are already in use.