Facebook and Google launch URL shorteners

Ronny Kerr · December 14, 2009 · Short URL: https://vator.tv/n/c6a

fb.me and goo.gl join bit.ly, su.pr, and digg.com URL shorteners

URL shortenerGoogle announced Monday afternoon that updated versions of the Google Toolbar and FeedBurner will now feature a Google URL shortening service. Like any other URL shortener, the Google URL shortener will take a lengthy URL and reduce it to a size fit for tweeting, starting with the characters goo.gl.

Stability, security, and speed will be very important to the function of the Google URL shortener, and Google says it will defend users from malware or phishing sites, easily hidden behind a generic URL shortener.

At the rate we're going, it seems like every site with a little spare time and money will soon have their very own URL shortener.

Though it didn't just come out today, a Facebook URL shortener, fb.me, can be used to direct users to profile pages or pages shared via mobile, reports Mashable. For example, fb.me/ronny.kerr is the short link to my profile page. Similarly, any m.facebook.com link automatically reverts to a fb.me link when shared among users.

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.

Fb.me and goo.gl are joining a crowded market, populated by Bit.ly, the favorite URL shortener on Twitter, StumbleUpon's su.pr, and Digg's own URL shortener. Even Coke has one.

Because we've seen that URL shortening probably cannot be a business in of itself, we will likely become accustomed to each service we use having its own version of URL shortening.
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Ronny Kerr

I am a professional writer with a decade of experience in the technology industry. At VatorNews, I cover the zero-waste economy, venture capital, and cannabis. I'm also available for freelance hire.

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Twitter is an online information network that allows anyone with an account to post 140 character messages, called tweets. It is free to sign up. Users then follow other accounts which they are interested in, and view the tweets of everyone they follow in their "timeline." Most Twitter accounts are public, where one does not need to approve a request to follow, or need to follow back. This makes Twitter a powerful "one to many" broadcast platform where individuals, companies or organizations can reach millions of followers with a single message. Twitter is accessible from Twitter.com, our mobile website, SMS, our mobile apps for iPhone, Android, Blackberry, our iPad application, or 3rd party clients built by outside developers using our API. Twitter accounts can also be private, where the owner must approve follower requests. 

Where did the idea for Twitter come from?

Twitter started as an internal project within the podcasting company Odeo. Jack Dorsey, and engineer, had long been interested in status updates. Jack developed the idea, along with Biz Stone, and the first prototype was built in two weeks in March 2006 and launched publicly in August of 2006. The service grew popular very quickly and it soon made sense for Twitter to move outside of Odea. In May 2007, Twitter Inc was founded.

How is Twitter built?

Our engineering team works with a web application framework called Ruby on Rails. We all work on Apple computers except for testing purposes. 

We built Twitter using Ruby on Rails because it allows us to work quickly and easily--our team likes to deploy features and changes multiple times per day. Rails provides skeleton code frameworks so we don't have to re-invent the wheel every time we want to add something simple like a sign in form or a picture upload feature.

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There are a few ways that Twitter makes money. We have licensing deals in place with Google, Yahoo!, and Microsoft's Bing to give them access to the "firehose" - a stream of tweets so that they can more easily incorporate those tweets into their search results.

In Summer 2010, we launched our Promoted Tweets product. Promoted Tweets are a special kind of tweet which appear at the top of search results within Twitter.com, if a company has bid on that keyword. Unlike search results in search engines, Promoted Tweets are normal tweets from a business, so they are as interactive as any other tweet - you can @reply, favorite or retweet a Promoted Tweet. 

At the same time, we launched Promoted Trends, where companies can place a trend (clearly marked Promoted) within Twitter's Trending Topics. These are especially effective for upcoming launches, like a movie or album release.

Lastly, we started a Twitter account called @earlybird where we partner with other companies to provide users with a special, short-term deal. For example, we partnered with Virgin America for a special day of fares on Virginamerica.com that were only accessible through the link in the @earlybird tweet.

 

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