Twitter officially announced the launch of their new link shortening service t.co in a blog post yesterday. Just as Overstock got o.co, Twitter recently acquired t.co and it was public knowledge that they were going to use it for an in house link shorting service – something that has now come to fruition.
The link shortening service will automatically and implicitly shorten all links posted in Twitter statuses, limiting the links to 19 characters – thus freeing up more characters for the entire status message. As Twitter messages are limited to 140 characters this is great news for all Twitter users. Any link, whether 19 or 190 characters long, will take up only 19 characters of your allocated 140 characters characters allowing you to use the remaining 121 characters for the actually text content of your message.
In addition to shortening links, Twitter will also show an extract of the original link in the actual Twitter status message instead of showing the shortened url allowing users to get an idea of what the link points to before they click it – thus improving overall security.
From Twitter’s official blog:
Sharing links on Twitter.com is now simple and instant. Plus, since we show a shortened version of the original link, people will know which site the link points to. This service also increases security. If users click links that are reported as malicious, we direct them to a page that warns them.
The only downside to all of this is that t.co – for the moment at least – doesn’t come with any statistics tracking, so if you want stats for your links, you have to stick to services like bit.ly.