Late Tuesday, Twitter announced it will begin automatically shortening long web links in status updates.
Link shortening applications take a long web link, or URL, and turn it into a much smaller hyperlink that takes up less of the available 140 characters in a Twitter status update.
Typically, if you wanted to include a shortened link in your Twitter update, you had to use a third party application like Bit.ly or Goo.gl. Now, you can simply include a long link in your status update and Twitter will shorten the link for you.
According to Twitter, after you type the first 13 characters of any URL, a message will appear to let you know that the link will be shortened.
All long links will automatically be shortened to a standard 19 characters in length.
According to Twitter, this new service will greatly simplify the process of sharing links. Because the shortened link is a version of the original link, people can also tell which website the link points to.
Twitter has had its own link shortening application, t.co, for sometime but it has largely operated behind the scenes to check for malicious links against a database it maintains. Twitter will now check all links against its database and if there’s a match to a known malicious site, people will be redirected to a website warning them of a potentially harmful link.
At time of writing, there is no analytics capability to the links shortened by Twitter (i.e. you cannot tell how many people clicked on the link). Also, Twitter will still allow the use of third party link shorteners. Like many new Twitter features, this service is not yet globally available and will likely be rolled out gradually over the coming days.
For more information, please refer to Twitter’s Help Center.