Saturday, 29 August 2015 - a descriptive url service

Let me introduce you to my most newly released little experiment, 

Forward2Xyz is a service which allows you to build a url, for instance, such as (which I choose primarily because that band has been my most recent choice of work music) and have it magically direct you to the appropriate page. In many instances, it also successfully gets preview generation from sites such as Facebook.

Let's talk a little bit about the motivation for this - "why would I want this?" is always a good question to ask yourself. The scenario I have in my head is that a user wants to be able to share something that is reasonably commonly known (hence appears on google - which the site relies on) but cannot remember the exact URL.  Normally this would involve the user going on to find the URL using google, then copying and pasting that into whatever message box they were going to use.

With Foward2Xyz you simply type in some description of what you would like to type in directly into the URL (it will accept spaces, but most social media sites won't recognise the whole thing as a single link so periods or plus signs are recommended - periods are probably easier for most users as they don't require use of the shift key)

So what are the advantages, for a user, of something like this?

The URL is descriptive - it would be quite hard to Rick Roll somebody using a URL like this, for instance, unless you were seriously committed to SEO. Youtube on the other hand obscures the title of the video in their URLs opting for some non-human-readable key

 It's very easy to type into a text input box and most social media sites will use it appropriately meaning these kinds of links are easy to share.

It's resistant to typos - this is the advantage of using Google's search for the back-end.

The resulting URL is sometimes even shorter than the actual URL of the page - although this definitely depends on how specific you need to be to get the right page.

But as with all things of this nature there are some disadvantages such as:

Non-persistence of URLs - these links are not necessarily reliable as they rely on Google search results. I think this caveat is not necessarily a huge problem as the use case is supposed to be for people sharing things on social media or IM meaning that the lifetime of the link is limited anyway.

You might not get the page you expected.

People may not trust the service (but you should definitely trust me. I'm from the Internet after all!)

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