I never understood why people use TinyURL until I tried it. Say you want to e-mail a link to a buddy, and it’s really, really long. Like http://maps.google.com/maps?hl=en&q=area+51&ie=UTF8&ll=37.243632,-115.811434&spn=0.002046,0.003782&t=k&z=18&iwloc=addr&om=1. You can go to TinyURL.com, copy and paste the long URL into the textbox, and it’ll generate a URL that looks like this: http://tinyurl.com/266z5t. A lot shorter, and it points to the same place. Sweet!

A new website has popped up recently that does very much the same thing, but is a little easier to use, URLtea.com. If you go the site and create a shortened URL out of the URL above, it’ll create a similarly short url: http://urltea.com/p4i. But with URLtea, you can add a question mark, followed by any text you want to the URL, to let users know a little better what the link is for. So if I wanted, I could send my buddy a link that looks like this: http://urltea.com/p4i?area-51, and it’ll still come up. If you try to do this with TinyURL you’ll get a 404 error for some reason. Also, they’ve created a fancy little bookmarklet that you can add to the bookmarks tab of your browser. Using that, if you’re looking at a page you want to create a shortened URL for, you don’t have to actually open up URLtea.com in a separate window or tab, and copy and paste your URL into the form. While you’re looking at the page, just click on the bookmark in your bookmarks tab, and it’ll be the same as submitting the URLtea form with your URL. It’ll come back with a page with your shortened URL already on it.

But the thing I like most about URLtea, is you don’t have to highlight the short URL and copy it to your clipboard. After you create the shortened url, it assumes you’re going to be pasting the URL in some other application, and it copies the url to your clipboard for you! That’s sweeeeeeet!