The internet, despite presenting the sort of outward simplicity that allows my grandmother to get on and send me emails (asking if I’m eating my vegetables and when I’m planning on getting married), is a very complex mechanism filled with moving parts. One of the important technologies behind access to the Internet is the “internet protocol.” Internet protocol, far more commonly known as IP, is where we get out IP addresses from. Those experienced with network debugging and connectivity issues probably already know about issues created by improperly registering addresses, while those who focus more on the analytics side of the web know that the IP address is how users are tagged with all that juicy region and connectivity information. However, IP addresses have a major issue: They’re running out.
Google, however, is partnering with several other companies in a push to resolve this issue. The resolution will be happening thanks to a transition to IPv6 (from IPv4, who’s basic framework has run the world of the web for the last 30 years). While IPv4 features only 32-bit encryption, IPv6 is 128-bit, which multiplies the number of potential addresses exponentially. Of course, IPv6, while used by a small portion of internet users and already supported by Google, hasn’t been widely tested. This is especially true on a large scale, which is why Google announced on their official blog that they would be joining in on “World IPv6 Day.”
This “holiday” will be a time when several major companies — including Google, Yahoo, and Facebook — will switch their own main site servers to IPv6. In addition to increasing awareness, this large scale deployment should also help work out any kinks that arise in the IP shift. Google is hopeful that this experiment will help “pave the way” for a global technology shift.