Google ditches web domain business moments after unleashing .zip websites on unsuspecting grandmothers

Google Chrome browser bar with address typed in it
(Image credit: Google)

Google has form when it comes to giving up on almost anything that isn't its core search business. So, add web domains to the list of failed Google experiments. Google Domains is officially toast. It will be wound down and its assets including the hosting of some 10 million domain name is being sold to none other than Squarespace.

Incidentally, if you're interested in a full list of technologies and products Google has nixed, rock on over to the Google Graveyard at Anyway, the odd bit here is that it was just four weeks ago that Google Domains rolled eight new TLD or Top Level Domains, including .dad, .phd, .prof, .esq, .foo, .mov and .nexus to join old favourites like .com and .org.

Of all the new TLDs, it was .zip that caused the most controversy, enabling as it does some fairly obvious opportunities for bad actors to hoodwink the unwitting into clicking on nefarious links. It could be all too easy to make a link look like a legitimate .zip file download while actually linking to something nasty—threatening to catch out the least internet savvy among us—though as Jacob's article explains expert opinion is split on just how dangerous the .zip TLD may prove to be.

Still, by most measures rolling out a major new initiative within weeks of giving up on the entire enterprise seems pretty odd. But this is Google, a huge and sprawling megaconglomerate of technology subsidiaries which often gives the impression of heading off in about eight different contradictory directions at the same time.

Of course, it's also pretty normal for a large outfit like Google to roll the dice on numerous experimental technologies at the same time. It's ye olde "throw a load of different stuff at the wall and hope some of it sticks approach."

What's more, the Google Domains service reportedly remained in beta for fully seven years. It was only upgraded to full product status—General Availability or GA in Google parlance—in March last year. And now Google is giving up on the whole enterprise entirely.

It's unclear what impact all of this will have on those aforementioned new TLDs including .zip and whether they will survive the transition. But it probably wouldn't be the end of the world if .zip went dot-gone.


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Jeremy Laird
Hardware writer

Jeremy has been writing about technology and PCs since the 90nm Netburst era (Google it!) and enjoys nothing more than a serious dissertation on the finer points of monitor input lag and overshoot followed by a forensic examination of advanced lithography. Or maybe he just likes machines that go “ping!” He also has a thing for tennis and cars.