Twitter is testing a feature intended to make it more convenient and secure for end users to include shortened Web addresses, or URLs, in messages they post via the popular microblogging service and via its third-party applications.
Expected to be rolled out broadly this summer, the URL shortening feature is now in limited testing and is designed to reduce the length of any Web page address, but particularly long ones, Twitter said late Tuesday in an official blog post.
At the same time, the feature will also check whether the destination page for the link is a safe, legitimate one or instead is a malicious site set up to infect visitors with malware or to attempt to scam them.
Twitter will also use traffic and usage data gathered via the feature to improve its ability to analyze the relevance and quality of "tweets" and use that information to improve its own services and to provide it to commercial customers that use Twitter for marketing.
The shortened Twitter links will begin with "http://t.co" followed by a unique string of letters and numbers. To design this feature, Twitter is building on top of a similar one it rolled out in March for private messages sent through its service.
The addition of this URL shortening feature will not affect users' ability to use other similar services for their Twitter posts.