Now that ICANN has approved International Domain names, India will be ready to to have internationalized domain names in Hindi by June 2010 (source) and will expand to other languages in a phased manner.

ICANN launched Fast Track process on November 16th, enabling countries to apply for Internet extensions reflecting their name – and made up of characters from their national languages.

Can this help penetrate rural Internet?

Hindi (ranked 3rd) and Bengali (ranked 8th) are among the top 10 language spoken across the world- but, no Indian language is in the top 10 languages used in the Internet.

Few Reasons/Barriers for local language adoption

  • The PC literate population is only 62 Mn which is 26% of the entire urban population.
    Top 4 metros – 21%, Next 4 metros – 21%, Non Metros – 23%, 5-10L population – 16%, <5L population towns – 4%
  • The discomfort cycle, i.e. non-familiarity with English distances individuals from learning to operate computers.
  • Extent of localisation China, Japan and Korea are the most matured markets in terms of localisation. These countries have been very active in their efforts towards standardized localisation. The result of this is that most of the software is already localized in these languages
    and now these countries are moving towards localizing cutting edge technology applications such as OCR and Text to Speech.
  • Low awareness level for availability of content in local language
    As per I-Cube 2007 data, almost 35% of the Internet users are not aware of the availability of content in the Indian
    languages online. This number increases to 53% for Internet users in Non-Metros [From: Rural Internet Users/State of Vernacular Content in India]

What’s your take on localized domain names? Are we prepared for localized content play?

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