First non Latin Internet domain names activated
Three Mideast countries have become the first to get Internet addresses entirely in non-Latin characters.
Domain names in Arabic for Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates were added to the Internet's master directories following final approval last month by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). It's the first major change to the Internet domain name system since its creation in the 1980s.
Until now, websites had to end their addresses with ".com" or another string using Latin characters. That meant businesses and government agencies still had to use Latin characters on billboards and advertisements, even if they were targeting populations with no familiarity with English or other languages that use the Latin script.
ICANN, which cleared the way for non-Latin suffixes in October after years of debate, said the Mideast shows growth potential, with just a fifth of the populations online, on average. A suffix for Russia in Cyrillic is expected to be added to the master list soon, having received ICANN's final clearance last month as well.
Proposals for several others have received preliminary approval and should be activated by year's end. They include suffixes for Jordan, Qatar, Tunisia and the Palestinian territories in Arabic, Hong Kong in Chinese, Thailand in Thai and Sri Lanka in Sinhalese and Tamil.
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