Email isn’t going anywhere, and has been around for what seems like an eternity. It still has a lot of limitations, though. One of those limits is language, where non-latin characters aren’t readily supported. Google is changing that, working non-latin character recognition into Gmail.
Some email providers already do this, but not to the scale Gmail will. In a blog post announcing the rollout, Google says “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.”
They will be the ones taking that step — a first into the realm of truly global email. Handy for the average user, it will also find favor with enterprise users, where Google is making headway.
The quickest comparison is to Asian languages that use characters rather than letters, but Google makes a good point about accented letters as well. They also note that Gmail — and soon Calendar — will recognize those email addresses. Soon they hope to let us create emails with non-latin characters.