File Under: Web Apps, Web Services

Twitter Plans to Launch its Own URL Shortener

SAN FRANCISCO, California — Twitter has announced it will start its own URL shortening service for tweets from its official apps.

Twitter CEO Evan Williams made the announcement Wednesday night at Chirp, the Twitter developer’s conference. It happened casually, during a Q&A session with attendees.

Williams sees the lack of an official Twitter link shortening service as “a problem” that needs to be solved.

When Twitter turns on its URL shortener, it will be the default shortener for the Twitter website, and the official Twitter apps on BlackBerry, the iPhone and Android — yes, there is an Android app in the works, Williams confirmed. The BlackBerry app is finished, and the iPhone app will be released as soon as Twitter completes the acquisition of AteBits it began last week. AteBits makes the super-popular Tweetie for the iPhone, which will be rebranded as Twitter for iPhone.

Twitter must have been planning this for a while, because it purchased Twee.tt (that’s a URL from Trinidad and Tobago) a few days ago, and that will probably become Twitter’s short URL root.

Right now, the Twitter website uses bit.ly to serve short links, and the most popular client apps give people a choice between bit.ly and other sites like tinyURL or J.mp. But bit.ly is the most popular, mostly because it’s the default link shortener for Twitter.

Williams said that the official client apps that are on their way will probably not give people a choice between different shorteners. “If they want to use a different shortener, they can just use a different app.”

The official apps will also serve Promoted Tweets from Twitter’s ad platform.

Bit.ly will likely survive — people are loyal to it now because it offers real-time stats for traffic and retweets on your shortened links. Bit.ly also has a paid service and a platform for creating your own URL shorteners.

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