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Friday, May 25, 2012

Internet usage for next billion under investigation


A Multilingual Internet Group (MLiGrp) is investigating the usability of the internet for the next billion netizens.
ITRealms Online gathered that this investigation is expected to have matured by 2013 with official launch of MLiGrp.
Just as the group anticipated that the next billions of internet-users would be those using Arabic, Urdu and Farsi as their native language and alphabets.
This group of people, according to MLiGrp, would form the centre of what their current experience of web-usability is like under the English language.
Also, ITRealms Online gathered that the debut of this MLiGrp officially will open the doors to many billions of customers, citizens, correspondents and contributors that currently are reported to have been excluded by the dominance of English and the western alphabet.
Although pages may be translated, most web addresses on demand are the American Standard Code for Information Interchange (ASCII) script-based on the western alphabet, making it harder for those not familiar with these characters to navigate the web effectively.
To further strengthen its determination, the group launched a website, www.MLiGrp.com, to extend the market study of Internet usability focused on the Arabic, Urdu and Farsi regions, communities and languages.
Also, the study will aim to research the usability of the Internet to date, identify the remaining challenges for the coming Multilingual Internet and their coming multi-billion Netizens.
Although not limited to Internet users in the states where Arabic, Urdu and Farsi are generally used, but will include native speakers of these languages all over the world for whom their language has always been an extension of their heritage and identity especially on the Internet.
This development, obviously in response to the ICANN’s new generic Top Level Domain (gTLD) programme, recent efforts by the United Nations, the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), and the U.S Department of Commerce, to extend the reach of the Internet, the research results will be invaluable to any business or organisation seeking to engage with new internet populations speaking these languages.
Speaking at the launch of the research project, Mr. Khaled Fattal, chairman of The Multilingual Internet Group, said they are thrilled at the prospect of this market study and of going directly to end users as citizens to tell what they want and need.
“We have also reached out to local country authorities and regulators whose responses to cooperate have been excellent. The study will either confirm what we know or teach us what we did not know,” he said.
Fattal also pointed out that in recent years, the Internet user needs and habits all over the world have changed; nowhere more so than in emerging markets and especially in the Arab world since the “Arab spring”. 
“Internet users have doubled in the region in the last 2 years and we expect this change to be more significant in 2013 and beyond. Times like these require diligent awareness of these changes and trends,” he said.

Remmy Nweke

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