The Internet is set to undergo one of the biggest changes in its four-decade history with the expected approval this week of international domain names—or addresses—that can be written in languages other than English, an official body said.
The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, or ICANN—the non-profit group that oversees domain names—is holding a meeting this week in Seoul. ICANN’s board of directors is scheduled to review an historic measure that could bring initial limited use of Internationalized Domain Names (IDNs) to the Internet before the end of the year.
IDNs, like .com or .in allow the use of non-Latin based language characters in the entire Internet address, which is expected to vastly increase the number of Internet users in global regions where languages such as Hindi, Chinese, Korean or Arabic are spoken.
“In Seoul, we plan to move forward to the next step in the internationalisation of the Internet, which means that eventually people from every corner of the globe will be able to navigate much of the online world using their native language scripts,” said Rod Beckstrom, president and chief executive, ICANN, in a release.
Beckstrom, the new president of ICANN said that if the change is approved, it would begin accepting applications for non-English domain names and that the first entries into the system would likely come sometime in mid 2010. -Yogesh Sapkale[email protected]