Multilingual

SAN FRANCISCO, May 7, 2010 (AFP) – Internet addresses written in Arabic are making history as the first online domains in non-Latin characters, with Chinese and Thai expected to follow close behind. “For the first time in the history of the Internet, non-Latin characters are being used for top-level domains,” the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) said in an online message.

“Arabic has now become the first non-Latin script to be used as an Internet domain name.”

Top-level domain names serve as sort of a postal code for online addresses, with widely known examples including .com, .org, and .net.

New top-level domains were designated for Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates.

“All three are Arabic script domains, and will enable domain names written fully right-to-left,” Kim Davies of ICANN said Thursday in a blog post.

“Expect more as we continue to process other applications.”

Egypt claimed the first non-Latin script Website in a new “.Masr” domain.

Websites with online addresses in Arabic are available in Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

“Arabic is among the most highly used languages on th