Google Releases API for Its URL Shortener

External developers can now integrate Google's Goo.gl URL shortening service into their websites and online applications through a just-released API (application programming interface).

In addition to letting their users shrink long Web addresses and share links to them, external developers will be able to give users access to their URL shortening history and analytics, Google said Monday in a blog post.

"You could use these features for a wide variety of applications, enabling behaviors ranging from auto-shortening within Twitter or Google Buzz clients to running regular jobs that monitor your usage statistics and traffic patterns," wrote Google official Ben D'Angelo.

URL shorteners like Goo.gl and Bitly let people turn long, unwieldy website addresses into shorter links that fit in the status updates they post on social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter.

However, because these shrunk URLs don't contain the domain name of the site they link to, they have been exploited at times by malicious hackers to trick people into clicking over to malware-laced pages and fraudulent phishing sites.

It's a known issue that all major providers of URL shortening services are aware of and addressing. "We're continuing to work on several usability improvements and to make our auto-detection of spammy or malicious content even more robust," D'Angelo wrote.

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