Internet begins its move beyond .com, .net, and .edu

The Internet's address books just got the first four new generic top-level domains, but they won't go live on the Net until trademark holders get a chance to stake their claims.

ICANN logo

Think .biz and .mobi are a little weird to see at the end of an Internet address? You ain't seen nothing yet.

Because on Wednesday, the first 4 of a planned 1,400 new Net-address suffixes -- called generic top-level domains, or GTLDs -- were built into the fabric of the Internet. The first four new GTLDs , taking advantage of the newer ability to extend beyond Latin character sets, are the Chinese word for game, the Arabic word for Web, and the Russian words for online and site.

"In addition to facilitating competition and innovation through the New gTLD Program, one of ICANN's key aims is to help create a globally inclusive Internet, regardless of language or region. For this reason, we elected to prioritize the processing of IDN applications and their delegation," Akram Atallah, ICANN's president of generic domains, said in a blog post.

The years-long process is overseen by ICANN, the International Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, which proceeded despite complaints from trademark holders worried about an explosion of new destinations where they must worry about trademark protection.

The new domains have been added to the root servers that hold the master list of Internet addresses, ICANN announced Wednesday, but aren't yet live for real-world use. That change will wait at least 30 days for a "sunrise period" during which trademark holders can register addresses using their own trademarks.

For example, General Motors might also want to register not just chevrolet.com, but also chevrolet.car, chevrolet.nyc, and chevrolet.eco.

About the author

Stephen Shankland has been a reporter at CNET since 1998 and covers browsers, Web development, digital photography and new technology. In the past he has been CNET's beat reporter for Google, Yahoo, Linux, open-source software, servers and supercomputers. He has a soft spot in his heart for standards groups and I/O interfaces.

 

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