I am sure that most of you would be surprised to know that a non-profit corporation called ICANN (The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) exists with the sole responsibility of managing top-level domain name systems and IP addresses. So was I.
But the cool part here is not what they have been doing, rather what they are gonna do now. This week, international domain names that can be written in languages other than English, are going to be approved by members of ICANN. This means you will be able to see web addresses in Arabic, Korean and Hindi etc.
More than half of world’s internet users have been known to use other scripts except Latin (ever seen a blog in Devnagari script?). And India, which has 50+ million internet users, has more than hundreds of languages. ICANN’s new president and CEO is meeting representatives from all over the world this week in Seoul. He said that the first entries into the system would likely come sometime in mid 2010.
Challenges to overcome?
This would of course mean that a translation system needs to be created that allows multiple scripts to be converted to the right address. ICANN is also to decide on the degree of freedom given on global top-level domain names. Right now, web addresses can only be chosen from 21 suffixes such as .net or .com. If this changes companies and individuals can have unlimited choices such .indian / .delhi or maybe an aditya.rao!
Experts are seeing this as a positive move. Yet many are apprehensive as it will take some time to trickle into Indian masses. ICANN will also have to get in touch with local countries to find out what the domain suffixes name in their language.
What do you call .com in Hindi?
Errmmm… No idea!