An ICANN representative has led reporters to believe that, till the end of the week, the committee might approve the usage of non-Latin characters in standard web addresses. The change, if approved, will not only be the biggest face-lift given to the Internet, but will also be the biggest technical modification done since its birth 40 years ago.
On the 29th of October, 2009, three days from now, the Internet will officially be 40 years old, and there are great chances that a revolution of the way we look at it is about to be approved on the same day.
This week in Seoul, South Korea, the ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) is holding its annual meeting, in which many experts are anticipating the official board approval for non-Latin character URLs. The ICANN has already been testing different technical solutions for this issue alone for a couple of years now, and a resolution seems to have been found to allow non-Latin users to benefit from their language on the web.
If approved, characters like Arabic, Hindi, Korean, Japanese, Greek and Cyrillic will make their way on the web, making it even more messier than it already is. Peter Dengate Thrush, chairman of ICANN, said, “This is the biggest change technically to the internet since it was invented 40 years ago.”
Referring to the miracle script that would handle domain look-ups in different languages and characters, Mr. Thrush also added, “We're confident that it works because we've been testing it now for a couple of years [...] And so we're really ready to start rolling it out.”
If the board gives the thumbs-up to the proposal, the first real international addresses are expected to be rolled out till the mid of 2010.
Combined with the latest rumors about a possible TLD freedom in choosing domain names (example.anything instead of the classical example.com), this could lead to a new moniker for the Internet: the Wolrd Wide Chaos.