If you’re on Twitter you know that you have to limit everything to 140 characters. Those 140 characters can be pretty difficult to achieve if you want to include a link to the funny article your Tweeting about. So Twitter supported a safe service to shorten URLs for its Tweeters, Bit.ly. Now Google, YouTube, and Facebook are jumping on the bandwagon and have all come out with their own URL shortening services.
Google just announced their new URL shortener on December 15th. The service, found at Goo.gl, is only available for Google products, like Google Toolbar and Feedburner. Google’s newly acquired YouTube.com is also creating its own URL shortening site for YouTube videos. With the beginning YouTu.be, these URLs are used only for YouTube videos and nothing else. Facebook is the most recent to join in on the URL shortening fun with Fb.me. This URL shortener is used mainly for pictures and commercial pages on Facebook.
Each of these sites is being very smart by not allowing their services to be used for anything outside their sites. TinyURL was the first big hit Website for shortening URLs but soon was banned by many Websites for distributing spyware. By creating their own URL shortening services, Google, YouTube and Facebook are avoiding that risk altogether. These shorter URLs also don’t disguise the URL, so you know when a URL is going to take you to a YouTube video or a Google Toolbar or a Facebook picture.