The face of the Internet is about to change, and its potential impact on international Internet use cannot be understated.
Earlier today, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), which governs domains, registrations, Internet Protocol addresses, and many other aspects of the net, voted to approve a fast-track process for implementing non-Latin domain names by early to mid 2010.
This means that by next year, you could be seeing domains in Arabic, Japanese, Chinese, and dozens of other non-Latin languages.
The new domains, which ICANN terms “Internationalized Domain Names” or IDNs, has been something the organization has discussed for several years, but now IDNs have been placed on a fast track process, beginning November 16th. It will involve around 100 new, international characters on top of the traditional 26-character English alphabet.
ICANN even takes the time to explain the impact of IDNs with a 7:10 video. In it, people from nations across (along with ICANN President Rod Beckstrom) the world discuss how IDNs will help them use localized keyboards and local email addresses. It’s a bit silly, but it really nails the key point: it’s time to expand domains to the native languages of over half the world.
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