BetaNews: Privacy: Twitter is under investigation for data collection through its link-shortening system. “Twitter is being investigated by the Irish Data Protection Commission (DPC) over concerns about how much data it collects through its t.co link-shortening tool. The Irish privacy regulator is concerned about the amount of data Twitter is able to collect through the service — something that was only heightened by the company’s refusal to hand over information about link tracking when it was requested.”
CNET: Google brings ‘www’ back to Chrome, but not for long. “In the latest version of Google’s Chrome browser, released earlier this month, Google hid the HTTP or HTTPS prefix and stripped out website domain qualifiers like the initial ‘www’ or ‘m,’ which indicates a website geared for mobile devices. But Google now says it’s rolling back some of those changes after receiving community feedback.”
Bing Blogs: Anonymous URL Submission Tool Being Retired. “Saying Goodbye is never easy, but the time has come to announce the withdrawal of anonymous non-signed in support Bing’s URL submission tool. Webmaster will still be able to log in and access Submit URL tool in Bing Webmaster Tools, and this is easier than ever as the tool now supports Google and Facebook authentication in addition to existing Microsoft accounts.” Seeing how spam-ridden the Internet has gotten, this isn’t surprising.
Ars Technica: Google wants to get rid of URLs but doesn’t know what to use instead. “Uniform Resource Locators (URLs), the online addresses that make up such an important part of the Web and browsers we use, are problematic things. Their complex structure is routinely exploited by bad actors who create phishing sites that superficially appear to be legitimate but are in fact malicious. Sometimes the tricks are as simple as creating a long domain name that’s too wide to be shown in a mobile browser; other times, such as in the above picture, more nefarious techniques are used. It’s for this reason that a number of Chrome developers want to come up with something new. But what that new thing should be is harder to say.”
The Verge: This amazing new web tool lets you create microsites that exist solely as URLs. “Former Google designer Nicholas Jitkoff, who’s now the vice president of design at Dropbox, has created a really nifty new web tool he’s calling itty bitty sites, or self-contained microsites that exist solely as URLs…. you can fill the equivalent of about one printed 8.5 x 11-inch page with any combination of plain text, ASCII characters, or emojis. The actual byte limit depends on where you’d like to share it; Twitter and Slack allow for around 4,000 bytes, while the Mac version of Chrome can accommodate up to 10,000 bytes. The site isn’t actually hosted anywhere — the entirety of the webpage exists as a URL compressed using what’s known as the Lempel–Ziv–Markov chain algorithm.”
Search Engine Land: Google Search Console releases URL inspection tool. “Google has announced a new feature in the beta Google Search Console that allows you to check a specific URL on your website to see the status of how Google search sees that URL. This feature is called the URL inspection tool and is now rolling out to Google Search Console users over the coming weeks.”
Lifehacker: Clean Up URLs Before You Share Them with the ‘Tracking Token Stripper’ Extension. “How many times have you gone to share an interesting story (or comic) with a friend—a pretty standard process—only to find that the short URL you thought you were copying and pasting is actually one giant, messy paragraph of text. You can thank all the services and sites that append a ton of extra junk to URLs so they can have a better understanding of how you visited the site, what you’ve looked at, and where you’re going.”