London: In a “historic” move to make the world wide web fully live up to its name, the first Internet addresses to use non-Latin characters have been launched for the first time.
Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have become the first countries to have so-called “country codes” written in Arabic scripts, paving the way for Chinese, Thai and Tamil speakers to surf the web in their own language.
Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (Icann) president Rod Beckstrom described the move, that marks the culmination of several years of work behind the scenes, as “historic”, the British media reported.
In fact, more than 20 countries have already requested approval for international domains from Icann.
Although some countries, including China, had already developed systems that allowed entire web addresses to be entered in their own language, non-Latin scripts had yet to be properly integrated into Internet infrastructure and so did not work on all computers.
“All three are Arabic script domains, and will enable domain names written fully right-to-left,” said Kim Davies of Icann wrote in a blog post.
Before the change was announced, Icann had expressed concerns that the web may split between those who could access Western sites and those who used primarily Arabic languages.