Google unveils URL shrinking service

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Google has unveiled its own URL shrinking system, dubbed

Link shortening systems cut down full-length URLs into much shorter ones so they're easier to share, such as on sites like Twitter, which limit posts to 140 characters.

But the all new won't be hitting Twitter yet. According to software engineers Muthu Muthusrinivasan, Ben D'Angelo and Devin Mullins, it will only feature in Google's feed creation service and its toolbar.

"Google URL shortener is not a stand-alone service; you can't use it to shorten links directly," they noted in a blog post. "Currently, Google URL Shortener is only available from the Google Toolbar and FeedBurner."

"If the service proves useful, we may eventually make it available for a wider audience in the future," they added.

One problem with such shortening services is that the created short link hides the details of the original URL, making them a good way to spread malware.

"As we do with web search, shortened URLs are automatically checked to detect sites that may be malicious and warn users when the short URL resolves to such sites," the trio of Google software engineers noted.