YouTube launches its own link shortener

Chris Caceres · December 22, 2009 · Short URL:

Online video giant making it easier to share links across Twitter and Facebook

YouTube has officially launched its own link shortener:

The shortener isn't as great or user friendly as it could be though.  To use the feature, users must link their accounts with YouTube's AutoShare, which connects users accounts with Twitter and Facebook.  Users friends or followers will see the shortened edition of the video's URL on their walls or Twitter streams.  

At the same time, there is a work around if you really want to have a shortened YouTube URL.  According to the blog post by Vijay Karunamurthy, Engineering Manager at YouTube:

To use manually, simply take a URL like and replace the"" with "" to get: Plug that shorter URL into a browser, and you'll see it redirects to that video.

For the Internet savvy, this should come as no daunting task, but for a user looking to get a shortened URL quickly, I'd expect they will continue using other link shortening services like or Tiny URL, since all you have to do is copy and paste and the link gets shortened automatically.

There is a benefit though to YouTube's new feature.  Now users of social networks will be more assured that the link they are clicking away to is actually an official video on YouTube, as opposed to perhaps a fake link leading to a malicious site.  See tweet below:

Karunamurthy also added, "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."

Take note, Google and Facebook recently launched their own link shorteners.  As Ronny notes in his article, "URL shorteners have really seen a surge in relevance in the last year with the rise of microblogging, made mainstream by Twitter's 140-character limit on posting. Content has to be kept small, but large, unwieldy links can sometimes easily exceed 140 characters."

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