New domain to provide online "

The Guardian reports that a new internet domain has gone on sale today  (.tel) which it is hoped will become the online equivalent of the phone directory.

The new .tel domain allows companies and individuals to create a virtual address book, storing a variety of contact information online and offering it to users according to where they are and how they connect to the service.

The domain name will be sold by British company Telnic, whose CEO told the newspaper, 'The launch of .tel represents the most significant innovation in the domain name system since the advent of .com".

A two-month 'sunrise' period begins today, whereby trademark owners can apply for .tel domains for their brands, products and businesses. After that period ends on February 3, domains will go on general sale on a first-come, first-served basis.

Unlike normal URLs, which point to websites stored on local servers around the world, .tel addresses return only information stored on the internet's core Domain Name Servers (DNS).

According to Telnic, this can include phone numbers, email contacts, GPS coordinates and more.

The result is that users can receive different information depending on how they connect to the service, instead of simply seeing a website when they enter a .tel address on their phone or computer.