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Gmail Now Supports Internationalized Domain Names

If your first language isn't English and you don't use the Latin character set you can and will run into barriers. While Internationalized Domain Names (IDNs) i.e. domain names where either the left of the dot, the right of the dot or the entire string is in characters other than Latin ones, do exist and have existed for a number of years not all services work well with them.

The video on the right produced by ICANN a couple of years ago helps illustrate what IDNs are and why they're important.

Potentially the biggest issue for IDN domains is email. Several times over the last year or so various Google staff have hinted at Google working on supporting IDNs in their products and services. It's a logical step, as the company has applied for several IDN top level domain names and not being able to use them with their own products would be rather "silly".

Google announced earlier today that they've added IDN email support to Gmail:

"Starting now, Gmail (and shortly, Calendar) will recognize addresses that contain accented or non-Latin characters. This means Gmail users can send emails to, and receive emails from, people who have these characters in their email addresses."

They've also announced that they're adding it to other services, though, for now at least, you won't be able to use an IDN email to signup for services.

By Michele Neylon, MD of Blacknight Solutions

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