Sunday, October 3, 2010


I see on Jane's E-Learning Pick of the Day that Google now offers a URL-shortening service:

I do use those services every once in a while, generally when I want to add a link to one of our Subject pages at work and it turns out to be something long and clunky. The URLs themselves show up on the page, rather than just appearing as the classic underlined blue text, and I think that's basically good--a way of making transparent, giving due credit, to the resource linked.

Here: click to get there, but if you care, it's!

So I see the value of displaying the URL, but if it's too a specific page it can be really long, and can loop around and look ugly on the page. In these cases, I've sometimes put in a shortened URL instead, just for aesthetics. I'm a little doubtful about the persistence of shortened URLs since if the service that creates the link fails, the link will presumably no longer work, but it's certainly also true that if an originating website is rearranged, or a document removed from a server, that link will also no longer work, so I don't think it's an unacceptable risk.

Sometimes links break, and that's part of the nature of information on the web.

I don't use shortened URLs often enough that I really have a favorite, or that I will get an opportunity to try Google's version anytime soon.

I think I started with, which is the first of these services that I heard of (and which has the advantage of letting you customize the short URL, so you can make it something you'll recognize--I especially like this given that I'm usually posting a link as a resource on a web page, and want to characterize it in some way), and may have also used, which seemed to be popular on Twitter.

I was, however, immediately curious about the .gl domain, which turns out to be Greenland. It's interesting to see how various sites and services make use of domains whose countries they have (as far as one can tell) no real connection to, but that suggest something about the service. Like, which plays on the connection of FM to radio, or the exciting potential of the .tv domain.

Greenland, the Federated States of Micronesia and Tuvalu might as well get something out of their domains.


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