On Its Way: One of the Biggest Changes to the Internet

MARINA DEL REY, Calif.: The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers will launch an evaluation of Internationalized Domain Names next week that will allow Internet users to test top-level domains in 11 languages.

“This evaluation represents ICANN’s most important step so far towards the full implementation of Internationalized Domain Names. This will be one of the biggest changes to the Internet since it was created,” said Dr Paul Twomey, ICANN’s President and CEO. “ICANN needs the assistance of users and application developers to make this evaluation a success. When the evaluation pages come online next week, we need everyone to get in there and see how the addresses display and see how links to IDNs work in their programs. In short, we need them to get in and push it to its limits.”

The evaluation is made possible by today’s insertion into the root of the 11 versions of .test, which means they are alongside other top-level domains like .net, .com, .info, .uk, and .de at the core of the Internet.

Next Monday, 15 October 2007, Internet users around the globe will be able to access wiki pages with the domain name example.test in 11 test languages — Arabic, Persian, Chinese (simplified and traditional), Russian, Hindi, Greek, Korean, Yiddish, Japanese and Tamil.

The wikis will allow Internet users to establish their own subpages with their own names in their own language. The evaluation is being done in the 11 languages of the Internet communities that have shown the most interest in moving IDNs from concept to reality.

The full introduction of IDNs will mean that people can write the whole of a domain name in the characters used to write their own language. Presently you can only use these characters before the dot, so .com, .net, .org and the like can only be written in characters from basic Latin. IDNs will change this so that literally tens of thousands of characters will be available to the world.

“Right now only the ASCII characters a through z are available for use in top level labels — the part of the address after the dot,” Dr Twomey added. “Users will be able to have their name in their language for their Internet when full IDN implementation makes available tens of thousands of characters from the languages of world.”

More information on the IDN program is available at: http://icann.org/topics/idn/

http://www.icann.org/announcements/announcement-2-09oct07.htm

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