Google 'testing' domain name service
Google has unveiled plans for its own domain name registration service.
The firm is "testing" a service that will allow consumers "to search, find, purchase and transfer" domain names for their business.
An increasing number of businesses are looking to set up their online presence, boosting demand for domain names.
Google's move comes just as GoDaddy filed papers to raise $100m (£59m) via a share sale.
GoDaddy is one of the world's biggest domain name registration firms.
"This puts them in direct competition with GoDaddy," said Keith Timimi, chairman of VML Qais, a digital marketing service agency.
According to its filing with the US authorities, GoDaddy had 57 million domains under management at the end of last year and generated revenues of $1.1bn.
Google is also one of world's most popular online search engines.
Mr Timimi said there have "always been rumours within the industry that Google was a domain name registrar". However, he said that Google had mostly used that service internally "to fight web spam and to help provide cleaner search results".
"Now it is leveraging that ability to offer this as a commercial service."
Google said it has tied up with four firms that specialise in building websites - Squarespace, Wix, Weebly, and Shopify - to help businesses create one of their own.
The firm said it was also working at providing "hosting services from a range of providers, as well as domain management support" to customers.
Mr Timimi explained that Google's latest venture could also help it better market its other services such as AdWords to businesses keen on boosting their online presence.
"The logic is pretty obvious - they can up sell their existing services," said Mr Timimi.
But he cautioned: "With their dominance in search, this may get some to worry if Google would use that data to help promote their services more than others".