The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (or ICANN) is expected to approve a new system this week that will allow for website addresses with characters other than those based on the Latin alphabet. Peter Dengate Thrush, the chairman of the ICANN described it as being "the biggest change technically to the internet since it was invented 40 years ago"
Although the news is unlikely to affect the majority of Neowin readers, the internet as a whole currently has over 800 million users speaking languages with non-Latin alphabets. The proposed International Domain Name (IDN) system could potentially allow for alphabets from a wide variety of cultures, including Cyrillic, Chinese, Kanji, Korean and Greek. Considering the large number of people that would benefit from a system like this, the change seems well overdue, but the ICANN haven't rushed into this. "We're confident that it works because we've been testing it now for a couple of years", Mr Thrush said, "and so we're really ready to start rolling it out."
Based on a new system of scripts capable of converting the characters to find the right address, the IDN could be up and running as soon as mid 2010. The ICANN expect to come to a decision of the proposal this Friday.