Google has recently moved its domain name business to its own ". Google " Top Level Domain (TLD). The previous locations for Google Domains, "domains.google.com" or "google.com/domains" now redirect to the new address " domains.google ".
Google Domains first went public in January 2015 to US based customers, after around six months in closed Beta. Surprisingly, though, Google has been an ICANN accredited domain registrar since 2005. The announcement of the move happened quietly on Google+, from their Google Small Business Account:
We’re so excited about our new domain name endings, we used one ourselves! Starting today, you can find us at domains.google.
The service has expanded substantially since its launch last year. In October 2014, it added over 90 new TLD's to its service, and you can see all the current TLD's offered, along with pricing, here. Also, from just $5 per month, users can get email addresses for their domains names purchased via Google Domains, along with Google Apps for Work (Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Drive, etc.).
While the new TLD's may make it easier to find that perfect domain name, according to John Mueller, webmaster trends analyst at Google, there are "no inherent ranking advantage" to do so. Furthermore, he said:
They can perform well in search, just like any other TLD can perform well in search. They give you an opportunity to pick a name that better matches your web-presence. If you see posts claiming that early data suggests they're doing well, keep in mind that's this is not due to any artificial advantage in search: you can make a fantastic website that performs well in search on any TLD.
Furthermore, a new study by the NCC Group has found that around 52 percent of users questions may be hesitant to visit websites using the new TLD's, with just 2 percent of users feeling comfortable with them.
This is not the first migration of a Google Service to a new domain name. On the 8th March 2016, Google announced that they had migrated all of their Google Blogs from the "googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.com" domain to " webmasters.googleblog.com ". We suspect that this is part of a concerted effort to consolidate their branding, as well as make use of their new ". google" TLD. That being said, Google has been in possession of the .google TLD for some time, after using it to fool users on the 1st April 2015, when it changed "google.com" to "com.google".