The World Shortest URL Shortener Using Internationalized Domain Name

Yesterday I introduced a crazy 14 letters twitter clone and how much Japanese are obsessed with smallness. And today I am amazed again.
A blogger Jamadam released an interesting URL shortening service, and that is the world shortest.
[Update] @miyagawa pointed out that http://tinyarro.ws/ have been making the same shortest URL, though the generator URL is not using multibyte letters.
shuku-jp-logo
If your browser does not support IDN (Internationalized Domain Name), for example IE6, the link above does not work. (Latest IE, Firefox, Safari and Opera should be fine)
# “縮” can be read as “shuku” or “chijime” and means “to shorten”, if you are interested in
As you see, it uses non-English domain name, a Japanese letter “縮” on its second level under “.jp”(Japan), which is totally compliant with web specification. And accessible on any modern browser.
By using Japanese letter, it realizes 4 letters domain in total, which cannot be beaten.
But there are some 4 letters URL shorteners like 2.ly, a.nf, etc. What makes this new one the shortest?
When I shortened Asiajin address, it generated
http://縮.jp/占
If you look the number of bytes it occupies, the URL is not the shortest, as those 2 Japanese letters each costs 3 bytes in Unicode(UTF-8) so byte-wise the URL is 17 bytes.
However, if you see the most occasional use case of URL shortener, Twitter, it limits comment by the number of letters, regardless how much space the tweet takes up in their server. So the shortened URL above is 13 letters.
It will be more effective later, because you can make 3.7 million patterns by 1 or 2 Japanese letters, 7.3 billion by 3 letters, as Jamadam explains [J]. Even this service becomes popular and used a lot, the length of the URL on twitter will stay in short.
# Jamadam wrote his service is a joke service, no guaranteed.
As he only uses common 1945 Japanese letters, you can make even shorter service by utilizing other multi-byte letters like Chinese, Arabic, etc. (But be careful, there are so many applications and services fail to handle such IDN domain, especially Roman alphabet countries originated ones.)

See Also:

(Shuku).jp also provides API [J]

4 comments

  1. I think this is awesome, I can’t wait to see what’s next (if there even can be at these short lengths!). Now, to learn to read and speak Japanese…:) Thanks for sharing, very interesting stuff!

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.