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New Domain names

The first internet domain names using non-Latin characters could be in use as soon as the summer next year, in what has been described as one of the biggest technological changes to the way the internet works since its creating 40 years ago, the internet corporation for assigned names and number (ICANN) has approve plans for international domain names (IDNs) that can be written in Arabic, Chinese, Cyrillic, Korean, Japanese and other scripts.

More than half the 1.6 billion people who use the internet speak languages that use non-Latin scripts such as Sanskrit, until now though, all website addresses have been limited to the 26 characters in the Latin alphabet used in English (A-Z) as well as 10 numbers and the hyphen, soon people with little or no knowledge of Latin scripts will be able to enter web addresses in their native language, this will expand the number of available characters from around 40 to over 100,000 in move ICANN said is set to transform the online word.

The internet regulator, formed in 1998 by the US government, will accept the first applications for IDNs by 16 November, with the first up and running by mid-2010, the programme will be rolled out in stages and initially IDNs will only be allowed on the limited basis involving country codes, these are the suffixes at the end of an address name, such as .jp (for japan) or .ru (for Russia), these countries can now use IDNs to replace these eventually, the use of IDNs will be vastly expanded to all types of internet address names. (www.icann.org)

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