Web Addresses Now Available with Non-Latin Characters

Since the early days of Internet history, web addresses have only been available in languages that used the Latin alphabet, such as English and French. But on Friday, the International Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) -- an organization that provides international oversight for the Internet -- agreed to allow web addresses with non-Latin characters. Anick Jesdanun writes for the Associated Press:

The result clears the way for governments or their designees to submit requests for specific names, likely beginning Nov. 16. Internet users could start seeing them in use early next year, particularly in Arabic, Chinese and other scripts in which demand has been among the highest, ICANN officials say.

"This represents one small step for ICANN, but one big step for half of mankind who use non-Latin scripts, such as those in Korea, China and the Arabic speaking world as well as across Asia, Africa, and the rest of the world," Rod Beckstrom, ICANN's CEO, said ahead of the vote.

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=114157833 | Photo: NASA

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That's not quite accurate. Non-latin addresses have been available for many years. However, the top-level domain names such as .com, .net, and so forth have so far been limited to the 26 most basic latin characters.
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