Say hello to وزارة-الأتصالات.مصر the first site with full non-latin web address

by: Bradley Wint on May 8th, 2010 at 4:11 pm

The Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (وزارة-الأتصالات.مصر) in Egypt is one of the first few websites will a full non-latin domain name. Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) made the announcement earlier this week, stating that people from Egypt, the United Arab Emarites and Saudi Arabia are eligible to apply for full non-latin domain names.

This means that the the Top Level Domain endings including .eg (Egypt), .sa (Saudi Arabia) or .ae (United Arab Emirates) can now be typed in Arabic text rather than Latin. A domain would look like as.etis.www, except in full Arabic text. These particular Internationalized Domain Names (IDNs) are written right to left to follow suit with the Arabic style of writing, meaning the TLD extension will be at the beginning if analyzed from a Westerner’s point of view. The domain addresses will go on sale to entities within those countries in the summer of 2010. More than twenty countries have applied for non-Latin domain rights, but ICANN has not commented on which nations will be allowed next.

With regards to actually seeing the Arabic text on Latin systems, it seems only Safari is able to display it correctly in the address bar, while Firefox, IE and Chrome show a Latin conversion (http://xn--4gbrim.xn—-rmckbbajlc6dj7bxne2c.xn--wgbh1c/Default.aspx) looking somewhat to a phishing scam link (so don’t get confused). The Ministry of Communications and Information Technology’s site in Egypt is accessible here, so you can take a look at how it is structured.

This move is definitely a positive one, making it more accessible for users in Non-Latin countries to access sites in their native language.

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