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ICANN: No dotless domains for you, Google

The organization in charge of a major overhaul of Internet addresses passes a resolution prohibiting so-called dotless domain names.

Contrary to popular thinking, Google doesn't always get its way when it comes to all things Internet -- at least, not if the latest pronouncement from ICANN is any indication.

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, the organization in charge of a major overhaul of Internet addresses, ruled this week that it's passed a resolution prohibiting so-called dotless domain names, essentially putting the kibosh on Google's plans for a dotless "http://search" domain.

Google outlined its interest in the dotless search domain in a letter it sent to the ICANN board in April. The idea behind a dotless domain is that a top-level domain name could resolve without a dot -- for instance, http://music instead of

Well before Google sent its letter to the organization, ICANN had already warned that dotless domain names could be detrimental to the Internet. A report (PDF) last year said the group's staff "recommends strongly against their use" and urged that dotless domains be "contractually prohibited where appropriate and strongly discouraged in all cases." ICANN explained that dotless domains can break applications and protocols such as SMTP. They could also create incompatibilities with intranets.

Nevertheless, Google needn't give up entirely on all its plans. There's still the possibility that it may end up owning the .search generic top-level domain (gTLD), even if it's not allowed to operate it as a dotless domain.