Web Addresses in Arabic will now be possible

Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers approves Internationalised Domain Names

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By  Vineetha Menon Published  July 1, 2008

In a move that will change the World Wide Web as we know it, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) has plans to extend top-level domain names and approved the introduction of Internationalized Domain Names (IDN) written in Arabic and Chinese scripts.

The board's decision to extend generic top-level domain (TLD) names, that currently only include .com, .org and .biz, has been eagerly anticipated after discussions were initiated in 2005. ICANN had always kept close control over the creation of TLDs but its recent decision will bring in more naming flexibility as new web addresses can end with .tech, .fun or .anything.

Under a fast-track process approved by ICANN, countries where the official language is written using a non-Latin script (such as Cyrillic, Arabic or Chinese) can create a new TLD consisting of the country's name written in that script. "One of the most exciting prospect before us is that the expanding system is also being planned to support extensions in the languages of the world," said Peter Dengate Thrush, ICANN's chairman. "This is going to be very important for the future of the Internet in Asia, the Middle East, Eastern Europe and Russia."

A system called Punycode has been adopted that will encode TLDs written using Unicode characters into a sequence of letters, digits and hyphens that can then be stored by existing DNS servers. Upon approval of the implementation plan, it is planned that applications for new names will be available in the second quarter of 2009.

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