One of the missing feature of Twitter.com is the ability to shorten links by default.
Although Twitter has it’s own URL shortener at t.co, there is no way you can shorten links directly from Twitter’s web interface. Desktop Twitter clients e.g TweetDeck allows you to auto shorten links and post tweets that are more than 140 characters but both these features are still missing from Twitter’s main web interface.
Well not anymore, because Twitter is planning to implement the ability to shorten links directly from Twitter’s main interface. With the new link shortening feature, users can copy paste a link in the “Tweet” box of Twitter’s web interface and the link will be automatically shortened when you hit the “Tweet” button.
Here is how the new link shortening feature of Twitter’s web interface will look like:
This feature is not live for everyone yet and Twitter is currently testing it with a small percentage of users. Twitter says in a support topic that websites who use their own link shortening API will continue to work as normal. For example: If you copy paste a YouTube URL, the link will be shortened using YouTube’s own link shortener and not Twitter.com’s URL shortener.
Of course, users can skip this auto shortening feature, use their own preferred URL shorteners and manually paste the shortened links. So if your website has it’s own branded URL shortener, you can use it without any problems as such.
One of the advantages of this upcoming feature is that Twitter will cross check each shortened link against a list of potentially dangerous or phishing sites. Users will be warned with a short waning message that the link they are posting might be unsafe to their followers.
It’s interesting to note that the Bit.ly extension for Google Chrome works quite similar to Twitter’s upcoming auto link shortening feature. I am a Google Chrome user and always prefer using Bit.ly for shortening links from webpages. This is because Bit.ly allows me to track shortened links whenever required, unlike t.co. However, the ability to auto shorten links from Twitter’s main web interface will be helpful to a lot of people who use Twitter from multiple computers and mobile devices.