ICANN trials domain names about to face trials

Internet domain names group ICANN is about to trial non-Latin language domain names in what it says is one of the biggest changes ever to the Net.

It will begin a pilot of top-level Internationalized Domain Names (IDNs) in 11 languages next Monday.

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, ICANN said in a statement.

'This evaluation represents ICANN's most important step so far towards the full implementation of IDNs. This will be one of the biggest changes to the Internet since it was created,' said ICANN president and CEO Paul Twomey.

The evaluation is made possible by the 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.

The wikis will allow Internet users to establish their own sub-pages 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,' said the statement.

The introduction of IDNs allows users to write the whole of a domain name in the characters used to write their own language. Right now, they can only use these characters before the dot, and as a result .com, .net, .org and other suffixes 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,' Twomey said. '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.'