Google has taken a step towards globalizing its Gmail service today, with new support for non-Latin characters and accented characters. Google is adopting an email standard introduced by the Internet Engineering Task Force in 2012 to make this happen, and says this will encourage broad adoption of the new standard across other email providers in the future.
The new standard is already available for Gmail, and will come to Calendar in the near future, but that doesn’t mean that Gmail users can create emails using those characters just yet. For now, support is limited to sending and receiving from others with email addresses containing those characters (including hiragana and katakana), but Google still plans to roll out support for account creation with the new standard, too.
It’s a simple change, but a welcome one for anyone trying to communicate with people who don’t necessarily communicate exclusively in English. Google points out that under 50 percent of the world’s population uses Latin characters for their native alphabet, so with the company setting its sights on connecting the next billion users, it’s not too surprising to see them make this small but noteworthy gesture.