Google’s .app new gTLD is readying itself for General Availability next week as it goes through an Early Access Program that started Monday. The .app TLD has been specifically for apps and app developers, with added security to help showcase apps to the world – it’s the first TLD to have enforced HTTPS.
The Early Access Program started Monday morning US Pacific time and runs through to 7 May. During the Early Access Program .app domains are available to register for an additional fee. And then beginning on 8 May, General Availability for .app domains will commence.
Google is touting a memorable .app domain name as being easy for people to find and learn more about your app. A .app domain name can be used as a landing page to share trustworthy download links, keep users up to date, and deep link to in-app content.
A key benefit of the .app domain is that security is built in. The big difference is it is also included on the HSTS preload list, meaning that HTTPS is required to connect to all .app websites, helping protect against ad malware and tracking injection by ISPs, in addition to safeguarding against spying on open WiFi networks. Because .app will be the first TLD with enforced security made available for general registration, it’s helping move the web to an HTTPS-everywhere future in a big way.
It's also likely to be the new generic top level domain with the largest number of Sunrise registrations. It currently has 3,075 registered domain names according to nTLDstats, which Domain Incite notes that “while not all will be sunrise registrations, it seems very likely that the new domain has comfortably beaten the previous sunrise record, which according to ICANN records was 2,091, set by ICM Registry’s .porn back in 2015.” Domain Incite also notes “the median number of sunrise registrations for a new gTLD launch is 77, according to ICANN records.”
Google has, to date at least, paid the third highest amount for a new gTLD string. The largest was Verisign, in effect through Nu Dot Co, paying $135 million for .web followed by .shop which GMO Registry paid $41.501 million for .shop then Google’s .app which cost them $25.001 million.