NEW YORK (AP) -- The agency in charge of Internet addresses says it's given preliminary approval for 27 new suffixes — all in Chinese, Arabic and other languages besides English.
They are the first approved out of nearly 2,000 bids submitted last year. The Internet Corporation of Assigned Names and Numbers previously said it was reviewing the non-English bids first. ICANN expects additional approvals in the coming weeks.
Winning bidders must now work out contractual and other details. The new suffixes could be available for use as early as the middle of the year.
Proponents of the new suffixes hope the expansion will lead to online neighborhoods of businesses and groups around specific geographic areas or industries and help non-English speakers avoid typing English domain names like ".com."