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ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) has approved four additional proposed Indic TLDs (top level domain names), in Malayalam, Kannada, Assamese and Oriya languages. The TLDs are yet to be delegated to NIXI (National Internet exchange of India). While Malayalam, Kannada and Oriya will use their own scripts, Assamese TLDs will use the Bengali script.

The domain extensions will be spelled as Bharat in Kannada, Malayalam and Oriya and Bharatam in Assamese. Other than this, ICANN supports Bharat domains in Bengali, Punjabi (Gurmukhi script), Gujarati, Telugu, Urdu (Arabic script) and Hindi (Devanagari script), as well as dot India domain in Tamil, which have already been delegated to NIXI.

At present, most online content is in English. Even in case of websites that do offer content in Indic languages the domain names are in English. Internet penetration via mobile is steadily increasing in rural areas. However most of the users in those areas aren’t proficient in English. Making top level domain names available in regional languages is a good start towards migrating to content exclusively in Indic languages.

Other Indic TLDs: NIXI had started taking registrations for .Bharat domain names in Devanagari script in August 2014. Although recommended for Hindi, the common script made the domain available in eight Indian languages other than Hindi, including Marathi, Boro, Dogri, Maithili, Konkani, Nepali and Sindhi-Devanagari. Along with .bharat, the domain names .company.bharat, .vidya.bharat and .sarkar.bharat were also made available for registration in Devanagari.

Seven years in the making: Back in October 2009, C-DAC had announced that domain names in Indic languages would be debuting soon. The announcement had come after ICANN had declared that exclusive use of Latin characters for web addresses would be brought to an end. At the time, ICANN launched a Fast Track Process for countries and territories to request their respective IDN ccTLDs, through which the Indic language TLDs were approved.

Increase in Indic language adoption:

– Earlier this month, Google started displaying common health conditions and relevant medical facts as information cards in Hindi or English when a user queries for symptoms or health concerns through its search engine.

– In December last year, Quikr launched Indic language support on its platform starting with Hindi, Telugu, Tamil, Malayalam, Kannada, Marathi and Gujarati languages.

– In the same month, Snapdeal launched a multilingual interface on its mobile website, starting with Hindi and Telugu.

– The same month Alibaba said it would launch a Hindi version of its website for sellers, while Khan Academy launched a Hindi website with math lessons. Catch also launched a Hindi version with exclusive and translated content.

– In November, news curator app Inshorts launched a Hindi interface for its Android app. The same month, Truecaller started transliterating names to Hindi.

– The same month Google introduced voice typing and input for Google Docs on Chrome browser in Hindi and 39 other languages.

Image Credit: Flickr user Tracey Northcott under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0