Speaking today at an Internet Governance Forum (IGF) in Hyderabad, Manal Ismail of the GAC said "When we talk about Internet for all, we have to go beyond the people who speak English."
As well as local content and software, search engines must also be able to support multiple languages, as search is often the way people access the Web, she added.
Although this is obviously a big problem in some areas, some participants have raised doubts about whether it is worth including local languages.
Ajit Balakrishnan, chairman and CEO of Rediff.com said that the IGF should focus on the spoken Internet, on speech-to-text languages, because that is the future of the Internet.
In Kiran Karnik, member of the Scientific Advisory Council to the Indian Prime Minister, said that although language may be an important aspect when bringing the Internet to the next billion people, connectivity, affordability, and utility are key elements as well.
Internet needs to be multilingual
By Emma Hughes on Dec 4, 2008 4:52PM
If the Internet wants to reach out to the next billion people to arrive on the planet, it must get its language skates on to support the large number of tongues across the world at all levels including content, software, hardware as well as internationalised domain names.
Got a news tip for our journalists? Share it with us anonymously here.