New top-level web domains announced by Icann

Web address domain names
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Hundreds of new generic top-level domains may be created as part of the programme

Four new generic top-level domains - the letters that appear at the end of web addresses, such as .com - have been announced.

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (Icann) is expected to roll out the new names within weeks.

They are: شبكة, the Arabic word for "web"; 游戏, the Chinese word for "game"; and the Russian words for "online" and "web site", онлайн and сайт.

Icann hopes hundreds of new top-level domains will eventually be made.

Until now, generic top-level domains (gTLDS) - as they are known - were limited to mostly familiar endings such as .com, .net and .biz.


But Icann has decided to open this system up, inviting companies to submit applications for names they would like to register.

Firms came forward to request almost 2,000 new names including the likes of .porn, .ninja, and .ferrari. The BBC expressed an interest in .bbc.

Google made 101 requests, including .google and .youtube, and also had more unexpected ideas such as .and, .boo, .dad and .new.

It will take some time for Icann to process all of those requests, particularly in cases where more than one firm wants to own the same gTLD - such as .music, requested by both Amazon and Google.

The most popular domain name was .app - with 13 different companies interested in it.

'More inclusive'

Wednesday's announcement marks the first set of domains in the new system to be approved.

"You'll note that all four of these new strings are Internationalized Domain Names (IDNs)," said Christine Willett, vice president of the gTLD program, in a blog post.

"This will be the first time non-Latin characters can be used in a generic TLD."

She added: "The move is an effort to create a more inclusive internet."

The new domains will now "proceed to delegation", the final stage before being made live - expected to happen within the next couple of weeks.