There's been quite a bit of chatter over the past day or so about Google's reasons for becoming a domain registrar. Like everyone else and their dog, I can think of several reasons why Google would have an interest in being a domain registrar. A company spokes person from Google gave this statement about it:
"'Google has become a domain name registrar to learn more about the Internet's domain name system,' a Google spokesperson said in a statement. 'While we have no plans to register domains at this time, we believe this information can help us increase the quality of our search results.'"
I really don't think this is a very big deal. I have to assume Google is telling the truth that they don't plan on opening up shop to sell domain names, but rather have become a registrar to simply understand the process and get a "look under the hood" of domain registrations. Besides that, their are several viable business reasons they might want to be a registrar, not the least of which being an opportunity to grow their Adwords for domains product.
If it weren't Google, nobody would care. But this is Google, so let the media frenzy begin...oh, nevermind, it already has begun.
Matt Hicks wrote a good article about this on eWeek.
List of registrars from IANA (Google is #895)