The nonprofit body that oversees Internet addresses approved Friday the use of Hebrew, Hindi, Korean and other scripts not based on the Latin alphabet in a decision that could make the Web dramatically more inclusive.
The board of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers - or ICANN - voted to allow such scripts in so-called domain names at the conclusion of a weeklong meeting in Seoul, South Korea's capital. The decision follows years of debate and testing.
The decision clears the way for governments or their designees to submit requests for specific names, likely beginning Nov. 16. Internet users could start seeing them in use early next year, particularly in Arabic, Chinese and other scripts in which demand has been among the highest, ICANN officials say.
"This is absolutely delightful news," said Edward Yu, CEO of Analysys International, an Internet research and consulting firm in Beijing, emphasizing that the Internet would become more accessible to users with lower incomes and education. Yu spoke ahead of the approval, which had been widely expected.