Just a week after Google launched its URL shortener, Goo.gl, it’s premiering another one, this time for YouTube. And because we can’t stand to learn yet another URL shortener name, they’re going with youtu.be. To use the new shortener, you just append the video ID to youtu.be/, so http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PKOTClyVrIc become http://youtu.be/PKOTClyVrIc.
Shall we count them together? That saves us
13 15 whole characters. Now, in a limited-capacity message, like Twitter, those 13 15 characters might come in handy (“no rickroll!!”). Clearly, youtu.be is not intended as a full-featured URL shortener: it won’t work for other domains, there are no custom options, and it’s not as short as possible.
In the YouTube blog post, they say that this integrates with the AutoShare features of account holders to link up with Google Reader and Twitter. However, if you haven’t enabled AutoShare, or are not a signed-in member, and you want to just Tweet from the Share menu below the video window, they haven’t put youtu.be into action yet. In fact, a lot of the time, if you want to use it, you’ll have to manually remove the other parts of the video URL.
The feature does have its good points: as the blog post points out, when you see a youtu.be link, you know you’re going to a YouTube video. Its integration with Twitter allows developers to show thumbnails, embed directly or track stats in real-time.
What do you think? Will you use youtu.be?