Finally Internet is changing. And its not a change that we come across every other day. It is the internationalization of Internet and we stand to witness the history getting created. The ICANN chairman Peter Dengate declares the event as the
biggest technical change to the Internet since it was created four decades ago
Internet Yesterday and Today
Internet domain names so far consists of standard latin character set only. The set includes standard English alphabets (A-Z), digits(0-9) and just two punctuation marks (-,_). The period sign (.) acts as a separator for domain hierarchy.
After a long six years of debate and brain storming and technical working, ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) finally approved the use of domains names in non-Latin languages including Hindi. Over a dozen of languages have been approved including Hebrew and Korean apart from Hindi.
To start, the domain name in non-Latin languages will be limited to the domains TLDs controlled by the respective national governments. That will mean that domains in hindi will be available only for TLDs controlled by India that is .in . However, the governments are expected to propose a new TLD for the country in non latin characters. May be it could be something like .भारत or .इन. This will ensure that the domain name and the web address can be written completely in the international language.
As the new ICANN charter offers even territories to register their own language, eventually other Indian languages too will find their way to the address bar.
The fast track process to realise this process starts on November 16th 2009. The government may soon announce the registration process for general public. However, the exact dates will just be mater of speculation. The names in the new international language is likely to be subsequently available in generic international TLDs (.com/.net/.org) are likely to be available only after 2011.
To sum up:
- We are on the threshold of a new era; a truly internationalized Internet era.
- Domain names and as such the internet address (URL) will now be available in Hindi and a host of other International language.
- A new TLD, that too in Hindi and other international languages will soon be available.
- Other Indian language will follow subsequently.
- This will bring up over a 1,00,000 new characters.
How will it change our lives
It will not doubt be the beginning of a new era. Specially for those who care for and take pride in their national language. With voice2text and text2voice software already available this will mean internet and information will be more readily available to everybody with even basic literacy in their language and without really needing to know English. This will be a great cheer for all those dedicated to the cause of Hindi, its propagation and development. For people who have been blogging for years in Hindi and dreaming for the new age to come.
However, that said, I am still sceptical if we as Indians really will take the pride in this new development. When the time will come and it will come sooner than expected, will be ready to take the pride of the national language or will remain in the narrow domains of my territory and my language and let the even pass.