Multilingual Web address to be rolled out next year

By on October 28, 2009, 12:00 PM
The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers -- ICANN for short -- is reportedly in the final stages of a plan that will allow the use of Web addresses with non-Latin characters. First approved last year, the plan will allow for domain names to be written in Asian, Arabic and other characters from various languages.

The group intends to finish the plans on Friday and said, "This is the biggest change technically to the Internet since it was invented 40 years ago." The new concept will roll out sometime in the middle of 2010, but applications for non-Latin domain names will be open next month. ICANN president Rod Beckstrom noted that of today's 1.6 billion Internet users, more than half use languages that have scripts which are not Latin-based.

Along with the multilingual web addresses, ICANN says that addresses ending in ".bank" will be reserved for authorized banks.

User Comments: 20

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fref said:

That should prove... challenging. Ever tried typing greek characters on a US keyboard? Or japanese characters?... You'll need to use Google to search and access these sites, for lack of being able to type in their URLs.

Cueto_99 said:

I like the idea... Internet is all about reaching the everyone and making it easy for all of us to communicate, including those that don't know/use latin characters. But yes, It will be one hell of a challenge to make that possible, cant imagine writting in a foreign lenguage like Chinese or Russian...

Guest said:

Everyone should just type in English...that is the only way we can all communicate. Writing in other languages is like whispering...not very polite.

tonylukac said:

This ends my theory that English was going to become the universal language. Sad.

ken777 said:

Ugh. Isn't easier just to make the rest of the world speak and write English? Guess it's time to learn some chinese...

Timonius Timonius said:

I sure hope all the search engines will be able to filter the websites properly (ie. non-Latin url but english content should still come up as a result but non english content would be ignored, and so on), or at least provide easily accessible search engine options, especially for non-Web saavy people (we all know at least one or two of them who will just get frustrated with this).

Clrabbit said:

This could get interesting... I'd like it better if when you got a Latin URL you could get a none Latin URL that would lead to the same address kind of like a second tier. So that way you still kept the only needing one character set to get anywhere. I really don't want to switch between Japaneses, Latin. Koren, san-script... etc key layouts all the time.

+ in order to type in any of the above, even in windows 7 you have to install the language packs witch can eat up a huge amount of disk space.

lynxon said:

This seems like a neat and cool idea at first, but everyone who just has a normal qwerty keyboard setup (majority of people) this will make it just that harder to remember all those long urls...

salbar1981 said:

did you know mandarin is the most spoken language ? :o but I wonder how you'd type a mandarin url with a western keyboard

kimsland, Ex-TechSpotter, said:

cant imagine writting in a foreign lenguage like Chinese or Russian...

My concern is there will be a lot of Spam links unnoticed until its too late

Imagine opening an email that says free gift for you (or some other spam idea) click here: ??

It could go anywhere.

limpangel limpangel said:

This is kind of funny. The current web addressing doesn't allow a lot of country specific latin characters (like "???" , yet they want to make "domain names to be written in Asian, Arabic and other characters from various languages."

Rig said:

"ICANN says that addresses ending in ".bank" will be reserved for authorized banks" at least that should help cut down on the amount of phishing emails claiming to be your bank looking legit. and I don't know how well it's really going to work out, I mean does BIND (the open source DNS server software) even support multilingual web addresses?

SoulSeeker said:

I think its about time!

A majority of internet user (I think) does not natively use latin characters...

And if you count Umlauts and stuff, its a hefty majority.

And why is everyone commenting things like "that will be challenging" etc.? If you cant read\type Chinese characters, you probably wont be interested in the content of URLs containing them...

ElShotte ElShotte said:

Is there any way one can register/reserve a .bank domain now?

Xclusiveitalian Xclusiveitalian said:

it sounds interesting, but how exactly am I supposed to type any foriegn characters from my US keyboard? The web bring the entire world together into my big base, i feel by doing this the world will be seperated. Unless they come out with a digital keyboard with keys that can change by the flick of a switch to different languages.

Clrabbit said:

I'm going to go ahead and answer this for people

Windows 7 sense that's what I'm using, but it's pretty much the same for all windows versions.

Control panel ---> Region and language ---> Keyboards and Languages ---> Keyboards and other input languages ---> (Change Keyboard) --- Installed services (Add) ---> Pick what you need [Note you most have the right language pack installed] simply use windows update for these in 7 the'll be under optional updates.

then you'll use the Language bar that'll now be on your task-bar/desktop to switch between different typing layouts... you'll then have to memorize what characters are were or buy lots of little stickers.

paynetrain007 said:

How will people in other countries access these websites in a different language?

ellulbrian ellulbrian said:

Well, this is a multi-language friendly thing, a real challenge for IT pros and practically impossible to remember a URL not to mention writing or how to figure out in what language it is written in so you can find the appropriate keyboard to write it lol. And hey, if you thing you can remember the IP, you may find an IPv6 IP which is an assay by itself lol.

Btw, will it make your site easily accessible to fewer people? which is the exact opposite aim of an address.

My only advice for windows users with Latin characters keyboard is that the shortcuts for copy and paste are Ctrl+C and Ctrl+V and it's better to start using them now so you can get used to them.


cant imagine writting in a foreign lenguage like Chinese or Russian...

aestarvirus said:

this is beneficial here in china where i am studying now. some people here are not at ease using western alphabets. so if this idea of using native characters, say the 汉- (hanzi) here in china, that would be very challenging and convenient as well..

im originally from philippines and we don't have any problems using english alphabet, but i think considering other peoples perception and preferance when it comes to naming their web address, this ICANN will be a great relief and will bring satisfaction to web owners.

plus the fact that ".bank" will be authorized only to legitimate banks, that's completely one of a kind!

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