Twitter has announced that links shared on Twitter.com will be automatically shortened using the service’s t.co URL shortener.
Links of any length will be cut down to a tidy number of characters — 19, to be precise — and an ellipsis when the sender clicks the Tweet button.
Although each link is assigned a unique t.co link ID, the links will appear on Twitter as abbreviated versions of their originals so users always have some idea of where their next click will take them — a smart move on Twitter’s part given the number of URL-shortened spam or scam links that have made the rounds on the microblogging platform over the past year or so.
Google has launched its own URL shortening tool, as the company continues to expand into new services.
While not quite as earth shattering as the launch of its own operating system, the unveiling of Goo.gl is an interesting move for the search giant.
Link shorteners, such as TinyURL and Bit.ly, allow people to reduce long URLs into a short jumble of letters and digits. These tools have become increasingly high-profile thanks to services such as Twitter – which limits tweets to 140 characters.
Unlike those previously mentioned services, Goo.gl will not be offered as a standalone link shrinker. Instead it will initially be built into Google’s products, beginning with the company’s browser toolbar and its Feedburner RSS service.
“Google URL shortener is not a stand-alone service; you can’t use it to shorten links directly,” says Muthu Muthusrinivasan, a Google software engineer on the company’s blog.
“If the service proves useful, we may eventually make it available for a wider audience in the future,” he concludes.
According to Google, URLs shortened through Goo.gl will be automatically checked against a list of malicious sites, allowing the company to warn users about dodgy links.