Gmail to support accented and non-Latin characters

Google is adopting a standard that will recognise email addresses containing accented or non-Latin characters.

In a step towards making emails more "global", Google has announced that Gmail, and shortly Calendar, will begin recognising email addresses containing accented or non-Latin characters.

Google is adopting an email standard, RFC 6530, that was created by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) back in February 2012. It will enable Gmail users to send emails to, and receive emails from, people who have these characters in their email addresses.

"Less than half of the world's population has a mother tongue that uses the Latin alphabet. And even fewer people use only the letters A-Z. So if your name (or that of your favourite pet) contains accented characters (like 'José Ramón') or is written in another script like Chinese or Devanagari, your email address options are limited," Google wrote on its blog post. "But all that could change."

The company also hopes to, in the future, make it possible to allow users to use these characters when they create Gmail accounts.

According to the IETF's abstract, by introducing a series of specifications that define mechanisms and protocol extensions, it can fully support internalised email addresses. These changes include an SMTP extension and extension of email header syntax to accommodate UTF-8 data.

Last month, Google added 13 new languages in Gmail: Afrikaans, Armenian, Azerbaijani (Azeri), Chinese (Hong Kong), French (Canada), Galician, Georgian, Khmer, Lao, Mongolian, Nepali, Sinhala, and Zulu.

"Language should never be a barrier when it comes to connecting with others and with this step forward, truly global email is now even closer to becoming a reality," Google said.