You might have heard of the Goo.gl URL shortener late last year when it was made available to those using the Google Toolbar. Now Google has created an easy to use web page where you can create shortened links using Goo.gl. Just type Goo.gl into your address bar to get started.
Google is touting their near 100% uptime since launching the service late in 2009. As they have expanded it into other services, Goo.gl has remained rock solid. Though, now that it's available to everyone, we'll have to see how it goes. The service will also have auto-detection of spam using Gmail's excellent filtering technology.
Perhaps the most interesting feature is that if you are signed into your Google account, you can see a list of all your shortened links, along with real-time analytics data. Google says they will be making a public API for the service soon, so expect apps to start offering Goo.gl as a URL shortening option.
Twitter seems bent on developing official alternatives to all the third party software and services individuals have developed. After releasing a Blackberry Twitter client, and buying an iPhone client, Twitter is announcing they intend to create their own URL shortening service. Evan Williams himself made the announcement at Chirp. Until now, Bit.ly has been tightly integrated with the social networking service, that partnership seems uncertain now.
This isn't coming completely out of left field, though. Twitter investor Fred Wilson strongly suggested in a blog post that URL shortening services would do well to stop relying on Twitter. The speculation is that the recently acquired twee.tt domain would be used for this purpose. Twitter already has short URL service called twt.tl that is used as an anti-spam system for direct messages.
If Twitter does indeed go through with this, it doesn't necessarily mean the end of Bit.ly. Third-party twitter clients could still continue to use the service, though its roll may be decreased. The Bit.ly Pro service could help them along as well. What do you think about Twitter's course of action? Do you feel sorry for developers, or should they have known this could happen?
You probably encounter more shortened URLs these days. These links, while convenient, are also a great way to hide a link to a malicious site. You can blame Twitter for their proliferation. With only 140 characters, tweeting a full link is impractical. Now AVG is stepping up to the plate to offer a method of protection.
AVG’s LinkScanner security product now fully supports shortened URLs. AVG says the LinkScanner system is more reliable than other methods because it tests links in real time. Whether or not it's the best, it is free.
The free malware scanner, Ad-Aware, has also added new features. The new enhancements are aimed at detecting and removing rootkits. A rootkit is a piece of malware that specializes in getting deep into the operating system to avoid detection. Ad-Aware uses heuristic detection to search for these nasty bits of software. It is also able to stop certain types of malware from restoring themselves after a reboot. Ad-Aware is a free download [warning, attempted upsell], and well worth having a look at.
Welcome to the wonderful world of URL shorteners, where internet links hide behind abridged monikers to sheath their unwieldy length. You may have seen them fluttering about on the Internet; they’re currently infesting Twitter feeds, blog posts, Facebook status updates, and yes, even in print publications. Long winded web addresses, with tracking codes and web stats, have become so passé. Linking to one will make you seem like a Jurassic entity, which is why URL shorteners have shot up in popularity. The first of these services, TinyURL began rapidly proliferating when social networking and blogging stormed the web scene. Users everywhere needed a simple way to share their favorite links and ensure that their web friends and followers had an accessible way to navigate their content. With the advent of microblogging sites where every character counts, more of these services have emerged to become an essential part of internet life.
We take a look five popular URL shorteners, evaluate the merits of each, and ponder on the future of this link shrinking technology.