thinking about the world differently . . .
February 4th, 2017

URL Shortening

Waaay back when, when we started using the web, it became clear that URLs are hard to remember. Sure, we have domain names that are human-memorable like “meshar.net/blog” and “google.com”. But soon enough URL became “http://meshar.net/blog/?p=5004” (the URL (link) for this post) and much much worse and longer.

In stepped technology with ways to shorten URLs. Maybe they were not that human-memorable, but at least they were shorter. For example, a service called tinyurl.com sjortened the above to “http://tinyurl.com/hd3h62t”… Ok, that’s not much of a feat, shortening a 30 character URL to 28 chatacters. But it works. Imagine a URL like this monster: https://www.google.com/maps/place/48%C2%B051’32.2%22N+2%C2%B017’38.6%22E/@48.8586285,2.2941227,19z/data=!4m5!3m4!1s0x0:0x0!8m2!3d48.8589438!4d2.2940484 ?? 151 characters! Tinyurl.com squeezed this to “http://tinyurl.com/hpg2amr” – all of 26 characters. Click it, et voilá, you are transported on Google Maps to the corner of the Tour Eiffel in Paris.

So this is nice. But danger looms around the corner in the world on World Wide Web. Tha bad guys are out there trying to grab your secrets and make money off you.

You see: Many people are now conditioned enough to be wary of URLs like that monster above. It is weird looking, could be dangerous. Indeed. The characters can hide all sorts of attacks that would infect your computer and lead you astray.

So today I read a nice article on Make tech Easier about URL Shortening. It provided a link to another service that would give you a preview of what you are about to go to – http://checkshorturl.com – use the page there to enter the long URL and let the service tell you more where this URL will take you!

Nice deal.

I like to use a service available at v.gd. The monster above was shortened to “https://v.gd/R3Qk7a”… When you go to that URL, it does not automatically push you into the destination, but instead first shows you where the destination is, so you can make a more informed decision to continue to the ultimate destination, or forget it.

So now you know. Enjoy.

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