The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) has announced that the first all-Arabic Web addresses are now online according to CNN. While this doesn’t seem like a big change for Western countries, this is significant to the global access of the internet.

Prior to this change, non-English speaking countries had to use the traditional .com, .net, .org or one of the other available Western suffixes. Now they will be able to use suffixes in their own language.

Foreign letters have been able to be used for the main part of the web address, however, the ability to use non-Western suffixes is just now reaching the market.

The First Of Its Kind

The first international suffix of its kind is the Arabic version of “.masr,” which means “Egypt.” While the western-typed version of .eg will remain, the Arabic version can be used in its place for Arabic speaking people. The change has been a long transition on the part of ICANN to include non-Western characters in the available domains.

At this time, Chinese and Russian characters have yet to be included in the change. However, over twenty countries in eleven different languages have applied to be included. As more countries join in, more websites will make the transition to continue to reach the growing population of internet users.

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