Shortened links are a great way to save those precious characters on Twitter, Facebook and other social networking websites. But sometimes, the same shortened links can be dangerous too.
Over the past couple of years, I have seen a lot of suspicious sources using short links to spread malware through Twitter, Facebook, Google Buzz and even MySpace. The idea with spreading malware or trojans with Shortened links is that users would have no idea where a short link is finally going to end. Novice users click a shortened link in curiosity which might actually harm them in the longer run.
The other disadvantage of shortened links is that they tell nothing about the address of the target site, and thus you are always in a doubt when you click a shortened link from a browser tab, email message, Twitter status update and so on. If you love using Google Chrome, here is Chrome extension which will let you see the real location of a shortened link, before visiting.
Install View Thru Extension for Google Chrome
After the extension is installed, just hover your mouse over any shortened link in Google Chrome and you will instantly see the actual location of the link. The address of the web page will be revealed just below the shortened URL as shown below:
This is quite useful, I can judge the whereabouts of a link by looking at the actual address. Currently the extension supports Bit.ly, cli.gs, ff.im, goo.gl, is.gd, nyti.ms, ow.ly, post.ly, su.pr, & tinyurl.com URl shortening services.
Another great chrome extension for creating shortened links as well as previewing them in the Bit.ly short links Chrome extension. The extension lets you create shortened links using your own Bit.ly account as well as lets you preview the location and web address of the shortened link on Twitter, Facebook and any webpage where a shortened link is used. Here is an example screenshot which shows how the Bit.ly short links extensions actually work in Google Chrome:
One of the advantages of previewing the web address of a short URL is that I can judge what type of content is expected on the target webpage. If you are a blogger and have a website, you might want to read our guide on creating a branded URL shortener in your own domain