The body that oversees the way Internet addresses are named has just released the first four new global top level domains to join .com, .org, .co.uk, and others, and they’re a big departure from the old names. Where previous gTLD URL endings had to be in Western characters, the new ones are in Russian, Arabic, and Chinese scripts. And they’re just the first of many that you will start seeing around the web.
The new “dot” address terminators are in Cyrillic, Arabic, and Chinese. The Russian ones are the equivalent of “online” and “website,” онлайн and сайт, the Arabic one is the word for network, شبكة, and the Chinese one is for “game,” 游戏.
What does this mean to you? Right now it means that if you’re at all a habitual web surfer, you’ll start seeing a few URLs you may not be able to read. For nationals in the regions concerned it means the Internet is a slightly more culturally aware place, instead of being a crazily U.S.-centric place, this may even help Internet use flourish a little. It may also mean that you should be a little more careful when clicking on URLs, as there’s the remote chance that the ever-opportunistic and clever scammers may be able to conceal scam sites beneath confusing URLs.
It’s also just the first wave of a giant change in the way URLs are labeled, and about a thousand more gTLDs are on the way. How you think of the web is going to be subtly altered as a result, assuming the idea of a URL still carries the same weight.