Internet addresses go global
Chinese, Arabic and other non-Roman characters are set to become part of universal resource locators (URLs), otherwise known as internet addresses, by the end of the year if technical problems can be overcome.
The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) has been working on integrating non-Roman character sets into the uniform domain name system (DNS) technology.
The change means millions more users who can use the web in their own language and spells the end of English domination of the internet.
“India, for instance, is very concerned to get more of their people using the web,” said ICANN head Dr Paul Twomey. “There are some 150 million English speakers in India, but the rest of the population use one of 11 scripts. Once you start to think about those numbers of people coming on as active users using domain names, then you are confronted with why the DNS has to go from roman characters only to something else.”
ICANN currently manages around 180 million domain names.