Google is finally figuring out that short links are just easier to deal with, especially on a mobile phone. No, it is not rolling out its own URL shortening service just yet (bit.ly, stand down). But today it is introducing what it calls “smart links” to the mobile version of Gmail.
When it recognizes a super-long link like the one for Google Maps shown above right, it will shorten it to the underlying name thing being linked to. In this case, it is an address (below right)
Basically, it translates the URL into English. Gmail’s smart links also work for direction destinations on Google Maps, and the names of YouTube videos and Google Sites pages. It is starting with Google-owned properties, where it knows the underlying names. But it doesn’t need to be limited to those.
It seems like a good idea and one which could be expanded to other links across the Web, including news headlines, image titles, Tweets, and countless other things. I kind of wish I could enable this feature in regular Gmail as well.