The 404 1,447: Where we put on our party hats (podcast)

Leaked from today's 404 episode:

- Seven people around the world collectively possess a set of keys that can dismantle the Web.

- Turn your Instagram pics into real photos with the Lifeprint.

- Skirmos system levels up laser tag with open-source Arduino microcomputer.

- Almost time to panic: 95 percent of the ATMs in the world run on Windows XP.… Read more

US government begins loosening decades-old grip on the Internet

After incubating the Internet and overseeing it for decades, the US government announced Friday it's releasing the last elements of control it has.

The Department of Commerce originally handled core parts of the Internet, but gradually backed away from those duties through a contract with a nonprofit organization called the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). In a statement Friday, the Commerce Department tasked ICANN with convening involved parties to formalize a "multistakeholder" approach to Internet governance.

The nuts and bolts of that work involves running the Internet's Domain Name System (DNS), which translates … Read more

ICANN CEO sets off explosion of new Internet names (Q&A)

Starting next week, the Internet is going to look very different -- and ICANN Chief Executive Fadi Chehade is the one who'll get both the credit and the blame.

Today, Net addresses end with 22 familiar terms -- .com, .net, and .edu -- called generic top-level domains (GTLDs). But starting Feb. 4, the first of hundreds of new GTLDs will begin arriving -- .ninja, .farm, .shoes, .photography, .bike, .pink, and even .wtf.

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), a non-profit organization, oversees the domain-name expansion and the core Internet technology called the Domain Name System that … Read more

Internet begins its move beyond .com, .net, and .edu

Think .biz and .mobi are a little weird to see at the end of an Internet address? You ain't seen nothing yet.

Because on Wednesday, the first 4 of a planned 1,400 new Net-address suffixes -- called generic top-level domains, or GTLDs -- were built into the fabric of the Internet. The first four new GTLDs, taking advantage of the newer ability to extend beyond Latin character sets, are the Chinese word for game, the Arabic word for Web, and the Russian words for online and site.

"In addition to facilitating competition and innovation through the New … Read more

GoDaddy buys domain name reseller Afternic

GoDaddy, the domain name registrar and Web hosting company, knows the big money is in reselling those domain names.

The company, which at one time was known for its over-the-top, racy Super Bowl advertisements, announced Thursday that it's acquiring Afternic, a Waltham, Mass.-based "aftermarket" network, which sells domain names that are already owned. The terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Founded in 1999, Afternic lists domain names that are up for grabs with the owner's asking price, and also gives a potential buyer the option to make another offer. The site sorts the names … Read more

ICANN: No dotless domains for you, Google

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. … Read more

Here come the Arabic, Russian, and Chinese Net addresses

ICANN, the organization in charge of a major overhaul of Internet addresses, said it has signed agreements that will bring Chinese, Russian, and Arabic domain names to the Net.

At its 47th meeting this week, in Durban, South Africa, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) announced that three companies signed registry agreements that will enable them to operate four generic top-level domains (GTLDs). The approval is a step in the controversial expansion of the Internet's addressing, from a small number of well-known, top-level domains -- such as .com -- to many more. A total of 1,092 applications have passedRead more

New York becomes first U.S. city to get unique Web domain

It appears a new domain landgrab has begun, kicking off with New York City becoming the first place in the U.S. to get its own top-level domain: .nyc.

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced the news Tuesday, saying this new URL will greatly help residents and businesses establish themselves as true New Yorkers.

"Having our own unique, top-level domain -- .nyc -- puts New York City at the forefront of the digital landscape and creates new opportunities for our small businesses," Mayor Bloomberg said in a statement. "They'll now be able to identify themselves … Read more

ICANN to shift around top-level execs

ICANN, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, is shifting around some key executives, the organization said in a blog posted Thursday.

Starting July 1, Akram Atallah, currently chief operating officer, will transition to a new role as president of the Generic Domains Division. Focusing on generic domain operations, the new division is considered necessary as ICANN's new gTLD (generic top-level domain) program will take on much greater responsibility moving forward, according to ICANN president and CEO Fadi Chehade.

ICANN's new gTLD program will expand the types of Internet extensions that are available -- such as .com, .… Read more

Google might open up certain top-level domains to the public

Google appears eager to let other organizations use certain top-level domains that it wants to acquire and manage.

Last June, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Named and Numbers (ICANN) revealed which companies and organizations had applied for their own generic top-level domains (gTLDs). The effort is part of a move to foster competition on the Internet by allowing companies to use a greater variety of TLDs beyond just .com.

Google applied for 101 of the 1,900 available gTLDs, looking to score such obvious ones as .google, .chrome, .gmail, .goog, and .youtube. But along with those gTLDs were ones that … Read more