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, 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.