Last month, the Unicode Consortium had announced the release of Unicode 5.1. Almost every webpage nowadays uses a wide variety of different character codings ranging from ASCII, Latin-1, Windows 1252, or Unicode. The problem with these codings is that most of them are programmed to interpret only a small set of languages and are completely useless when required to interpret a new language. However, Unicode is designed to make sense of just about every language that is in use today. The benefits of such a coding are immense.
Keeping the relevance and importance of Unicode 5.1, Google has announced, that its SERPs (Search engine result pages) will now have Unicode 5.1 support. This will enhance a user's search experience to great lengths and also be able to search for words that relate to his language. Google had been using Unicode as an internal format for the text that it searches for. Whenever it encounters a different coding on a website, it is immediately converted in Unicode for processing. Google keeps a tight vigil for the latest version of Unicode and updates itself accordingly.
According to Google, Unicode is the most popular and frequently used coding on the Internet, even surpassing the likes of both ASCII and Western European encodings.
There has been a substantial decline in the webpages that were using ASCII coding and even a more significant reduction in the codings that were targeted towards covering only Western European letters. Language specific codings are slowly reducing to nothingness. On the other hand, Unicode is being widely accepted by Webmasters as a 'one-for all' coding mechanism.
It just seems that other codings like the ASCII, Latin-1 and others might slowly disappear, because Internet is all about reaching out and connecting. In this regard, Unicode seems to be the winner.