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YouTube rolls out URL shortener

Another URL shortener surfaces

Yet another major web property has released a URL shortener in an attempt to boost social media accessibility.

Last week, Google announced it was launching Goo.gl and Fb.me was discovered for Facebook. Now, YouTube has joined in with the release of youtu.be, a URL shortener that works exclusively with Google’s video-sharing service.

Users can create smaller links by editing the URL stem “http://www.yotube.com/watch?v=” so that it reads “http://youtu.be/” and then pasting this new URL into a browser. Alternatively, they may automate the process by connecting social media portals like Twitter and Facebook to their YouTube account through the AutoShare function. Afterwards, whenever a signed-in user favourites a video, this will be sent out to social networks as a youtu.be link.

URL shorteners in a nutshell

URL shorteners have enjoyed a rapid rise to popularity thanks to the influence of micro-blogging tools like Twitter. But a major criticism with general services like bit.ly and TinyURL is that users have no idea what website they will be redirected to after clicking on the link. A site-specific URL shortener like youtu.be does not have this problem.

Meanwhile, Vijay Karunamurthy, engineering manager at YouTube, has pointed out another advantage of the youtu.be service. “Because the link contains the ID of the video you’re going to see, developers can do interesting things like show you thumbnails, embed the video directly or track how a video is spreading in real time,” he said.

The limitations of URL shorteners became apparent in August 2009 when The Nambu Network announced it was closing tr.im. At the time, the internet service provider warned that all existing tri.im links would cease to work from 2010 onwards

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