In the biggest change ever to the system, Web domains will soon be available in the native scripts of Chinese, Arabic, Hebrew, and other non-Latin-based languages. A proposal expected to be approved this week means “Internationalized Domain Names” could be up and running as soon as mid-2010. China and Thailand currently offer support for domains in their languages with non-standard workarounds, ZDNet reports.
“Of the 1.6 billion internet users today worldwide, more than half use languages that have scripts that are not Latin-based,” said the president of ICANN, which oversees international domain naming. “So this change is very much necessary for not only half the world’s internet users today but more than half, probably, of the future users as the internet continues to spread.”