Is this the Web address of tomorrow: ? At the moment, non-Latin alphabets and scripts are not compatible with ASCII, the lingua franca of the Internet also known as plain text. But as of March only 40 percent of the 561-million-strong global online population were native English speakers, according to online marketing firm Global Reach. Work has been proceeding for some time, therefore, to internationalize the system that assigns domain names (sciam.com, for example) to the dotted clumps of numbers that computers use (such as 18.104.22.168).
The technical side of things has been managed by the Internationalized Domain Name Working Group of the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF). In April, VeriSign, the single largest registrar of domain names, claimed to have registered about a million international names. But turning Web addresses into a multilingual forum may open the door to a dangerous new hazard--hackers could set up fake sites whose domain names look just like the ASCII version.
This article was originally published with the title URLs in Urdu?.