Short URLs are all over the web with many URL shortning services, like tinyurl.com , bit.ly , tr.im and even the wordpress.com blogging service has their own URL shortening service for the blog posts : wp.me. This is a very convenient feature and best suitable for social networking, by keeping messages short and cleaning the mess of long URL’s. This comes with a cost. You cannot know what is the final destination of the shortened URL, where it will take your after resolving. It can be a malicious site with scripts running behind which can do damage to the system or anything. But until today i did not think it was necessary. I just got a scrap in Orkut containing a shortened URL which was suspicious as it was sent to 246 people. I wanted to see what’s behind it without clicking it.
Googling got me a good solution. The LongURL service and the LongURL Mobile Expander plugin for firefox. This is a very helpful plugin. When installed and enabled, if you take the cursor over any shortened url it would automatically resolve it ans show you the redirected original page link on a small popup. The small popup also contains a more link clicking on which takes you to the LongURL site and provides details about the shortened url, the elongated resolved url and the number of redirects, and a screenshot of the redirected original site. The plugin uses the LongURL service to expand the URLs and making it more convenient to resolve the URLs. If you don’t want to install the plugin you can still visit the page http://longurl.org/expand and manually paste the url to be elongated.
The good thing of the plugin is that it does not attempt to expand all the URLs you point and only attempts to resolve those which start with the domain of some URL shortening service. So pointing to some URL having the URL shortening service domain will be resolved by the plugin. Note that it may take some time expanding the URL by the plugin, you need to keep the cursor on the link for the plugin to work on that URL and get you the result.
Plugin Name : LongURL Mobile Expander
To install the plugin visit: https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/8636/
URL resolving Web Service : http://longurl.org/