Skip to main content

Google now supports non-Latin characters in Gmail

While email may be falling out of favour with today's youth, I still prefer it as my main means of digital communication. It may be all the rage to send pictures of your private parts on Snapchat, selfies on Instagram and messages to your BFF on Whatsapp, but I'll stick with good ol' electronic mail, thank you very much.

Unfortunately, email hasn't changed very much over the years -- there has not been a lot of innovation. Even worse, email addresses have forever been limited to Latin characters. The problem with this is email and the internet are global and not all countries use Latin characters in their language. If they do, they may also integrate accented Latin characters too, such as an accent (á) or a tilde (ñ). Today, Google is stepping up to bring support for both non-Latin and accented Latin characters, in its very popular Gmail service.

"In 2012, an organisation called the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) created a new email standard that supports addresses with non-Latin and accented Latin characters (e.g. 武@メール.グーグル). In order for this standard to become a reality, every email provider and every website that asks you for your email address must adopt it. That's obviously a tough hill to climb. The technology is there, but someone has to take the first step", says Pedro Chaparro Monferrer, Software Engineer, Google.

Monferrer further says, "today we're ready to be that someone. Starting now, Gmail (and shortly, Calendar) will recognise addresses that contain accented or non-Latin characters.

This means Gmail users can send emails to, and receive emails from, people who have these characters in their email addresses. Of course, this is just a first step and there’s still a ways to go. In the future, we want to make it possible for you to use them to create Gmail accounts".

Wow, this is exciting news. Unfortunately, Google stopped short of truly embracing this initiative, as you still cannot create a Gmail account with these characters. Still, it is a good start and it should open the door for greater communications among different cultures. I just look forward to the day when my email address can be a string of emojis

Photo credit: Rawpixel / Shutterstock