Feature Friday: Copy URL

At some point yesterday, I was in the chrome browser (which is basically my OS these days) and I hit Edit, Copy URL, and I realized that I must do that dozens of times a day. Grabbing links and sharing links is possibly the most common thing I do from day to day.

And now with the latest build of Android, when you hold your finger over the address bar in the android browser, you are given the option to Copy URL. Since discovering this feature recently, I do it on my phone dozens of times a day as well.

Android also has the "share page" feature which will let you send the URL of the page you are on into any app on your phone that can take a URL (Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Kik, gmail, text, etc, etc, etc, etc, etc, etc).

This isn't an advertisement for Chrome and Android. I'm sure most modern browsers offer this feature. And I suspect that iOS supports this feature too (although I don't believe it offers the "share page" feature that android has).

This is just a recognition that URLs/links are the lingua franca of the web and every app, web or mobile, should make capturing them and working with them as drop dead simple as possible. I certainly appreciate this feature and I suspect all of you do as well.


Comments (Archived):

  1. tyronerubin

    For the iOS confirm.Whenever you on any page in the browser right at the bottom centre is the beautiful share button where you can Add bookmark, Add to Reading List and yes Mail link, tweet or even print the page.Flipboard also does a great job of this as well as on the iPad with iOSlingua franca nice, had to look that up

    1. fredwilson

      this is where iOS is playing favorites with Twitter. they don’t make it as easy to share via Facebook, Tumblr, Kik, or any other third party app. great for Twitter, but not so great for iOS developers

      1. tyronerubin

        great point, loving having perpective, thanks!just checked now, even Flipboard favoring twitter big time.

      2. jason wright

        I wonder if Apple will buy Twitter?

        1. fredwilson

          I hope not. Twitter could grow up into a company that can impact people and the world the way Apple has. @jack is a very special person. Companies with that potential should stay independent and try to realize it

          1. Carl Rahn Griffith

            I think Twitter has already had an amazing social impact, Fred – lots more to come, potentially, indeed…If one could analyse how much more information is shared between people now since Twitter, I think we’d be pretty amazed. Doesn’t matter whether it is simply the sharing of a pop video or a joke – the important thing is that Twitter is enabling the rapid dissemination of information/views/news/URLs. How often does a new communication medium come along? Exactly.Always loved it for that, always will. 

          2. Cam MacRae

            Had an interesting experience with twitter about 2 months ago: I was in a somewhat well known building that was evacuated (not a drill), and I tweeted a couple of pics of people milling around and a bit of a grumble about my meeting being interrupted. About 3 minutes later a producer from a news and current affairs radio station had called for an eyewitness account.Twitter has changed the news cycle, not always for the better (fact checking, anyone?), and it’s made some pretty massive inroads into redefining the PR cycle too. Whether Jack etc. get their props or not that’s a pretty big deal.

          3. Rohan

            Like Dropbox did. Brave move.And very commendable.

      3. ramzr

        The fact that any app can “declare” itself as a sharing service and be automatically added to that list is one of the most powerful features of Android.Sometime soon, if http://webintents.org/ gains traction, that form of communication between services will become the norm.

        1. fredwilson

          I totally agree. There are a few reasons i’m all in on android. This is at or near the top

        2. jarid

          Interesting, I didn’t know any service could be added to that list. Wish Delicious would do that.In my opinion, not playing up the “for:” tag as a killer feature was one of their downfalls. I personally have shared thousands of links that way, and have introduced numerous people to the feature. I think I learned about it on AVC first, actually.The ability to tag any page for another user is an amazingly frictionless-way to “share” links. Hope the new team figures out a way to bring it back and spread adoption.

    2. Judd Morgenstern

      Safari helps you easily create a mail message populated with link to page with shortcut ⌘+Shift+IiOS works as described in post above.I do this 10+ times a day. Wish there was a ‘History of Sent Links’ though…Screenshots of Safari and iOS feature: http://cl.ly/BYvOApple clearly plays favorites; trade-off is simplifying UI for user. Apple UX FTW.

  2. Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry

    We tend to forget how powerful simple link sharing can be. Good reminder.

    1. Rohan

      Actually, it’s amazing when we consider how big the ability to cut, copy, paste (and undo in the same breath) has impacted our way of life.. 

      1. Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry


  3. Rohan

    And like yesterday, I thought I’d share a completely different thought at the avc bar. I was at a concert of a small band called ‘Boyce Avenue’ – this band of 3 brothers and a friend from Florida has made it’s name entirely out of Youtube (http://www.youtube.com/boyc…. And they were now performing to 2,000 here in London thanks to this online following. There were 2 amazing moments – 1) They share the stage with other Youtube stars – yesterday, we had Tyler Ward (from Colorado – Brad Feld would be proud ;)) who expressed his thrill at performing in front of his largest audience yet. And it was genuine. You could feel it.2) The coolest moment though, was when Boyce Avenue took stage. Their first question – How many of you know Boyce Avenue from YouTube? 2000 hands went up.’God bless YouTube’ they said. Now, we can give speeches, blog and talk about the impact of technology in the world today. That moment was worth a 1000 such speeches.

    1. fredwilson

      youtube is such an important social platformFB and Twitter get more airplay but YouTube has had such a profound impact on society, culture, work, life, etc

      1. Rohan

        I think so too, Fred. And the fact that individuals from ordinary backgrounds can now build followings around the world purely based on their work is true empowerment. And these platforms have gone a long way in doing that. YouTube leads the way in many ways..

      2. Dan Lewis

        YouTube’s different, though — it’s become part of the consumer web’s infrastructure.  If you want to distribute a video, there are really two choices: youtube and vimeo.  But people from outside those distribution channels can find your video, via search or pushed to them as links/embeds in the content you’re reading (be it a Fb status update, a tweet, or a blog post, etc.)

        1. fredwilson

          Same with twitter. Plumbing at the core

          1. Dan Lewis

            Nah, Twitter is still too much a destination.  Without creating an account and logging in (even if via a third-party, API driven interface), I don’t achieve nearly the same value that I could.  YouTube doesn’t really suffer from this.

          2. Luke Chamberlin

            I agree.

          3. Rohan

            Agree 🙂 

          4. FAKE GRIMLOCK


      3. David Semeria

        Case in point, this excellent BBC article which explains how YouTube may be changing Russian politics.

        1. Tom Labus

          Shoot people on YouTube?

        2. fredwilson

          Disqus are the linkCooy URL fail!

          1. David Semeria


          2. Rohan

            Nice one, David 🙂

      4. markslater

        and its about to go away unless we tell the idiots in washington to stop their insanity

        1. fredwilson

          You know it. Im working this hard.

      5. leigh

        I have a friend who does a lot of development for some big bands in Canada – he’s figured out some very interesting things about Youtube’s meta data and how they pull content into search.  Discoverability on youtube is a very interesting subject….

        1. Rohan

          Yup. I would imagine so. 🙂

    2. Alexander Close

      Artists using technology in innovative ways, some of the best results of tech I’d say.Another example: “Merton”, who taped his own improv piano on Chat Roulette, put it on youtube, fans copied and pasted the link to friends, he hit 9 millions views and spun himself a career.http://www.youtube.com/Pian…You can’t make this stuff up…

      1. Rohan

        Haha. That’s a great link!! 

  4. Rian van der Merwe

    Two Chrome plugins you might find useful that makes link copying even easier:Create Link: https://chrome.google.com/w…Markdown Link Generator: https://chrome.google.com/w…

    1. fredwilson


  5. JimHirshfield

    Copying, then sharing content (whether text, images, URLs) is adding value to that content. Being at a startup that sees everything people copy off of 550,000+ sites, I’m happy to share these average stats:Readers copy text off of 1.5% of your pageviews. (Some sites, 4%+)And this is considerably more than clicks on “share” buttons.They copy the URL 60% to 100% more frequently.(Web only, no mobile in above stats).

    1. Tom Labus

      Is there info about type of information?  Does financial info get copied more than political info?

      1. JimHirshfield

        Anecdotal only: Celeb stuff is copied a LOT more than general news, but it really depends on the content, not so much the topical category. Recipes are copied at above 4% rate – but that’s not so much for sharing, as it is for preserving (people compiling their fave recipes in their own “archive”). Some finance content is highly copied, others not so much.National media outlets have a higher copy rate than regional newspapers. This is likely due to them breaking big stories (first) and coverage not available elsewhere. More headlines are copied off of paywall sites than non-paywall sites. This is due to the practice of circumventing the paywall with copy/paste into search engines.People copy 2 words more than any other length of words copied. #minutiae.As for copying the URL from the browser, we’ve seen that on average, 6.3% of a sites pageviews come from visits attributed to these shared URLs.

        1. leigh

          Jim, where are you getting the stats from?  they are most excellent and i’d love a reference 🙂

          1. ShanaC

            personal guess, his time at tynt – they had this website plugin to track copy and pastes…(he’s listing himself as ex-bd from them)http://www.tynt.com/

          2. JimHirshfield

            Correct, but I’m still at Tynt. Ex at all those other companies in my profile.  😉

          3. JimHirshfield

            It’s from our proprietary data at Tynt. Tynt’s js is widely deployed, so by aggregating and averaging, we’re able to come up with these kinds of stats. Generally, we haven’t publicly published a report on these stats, although I’d like to find that time (ha!) to put something together.

          4. ShanaC

            when you do, do tell!  (and sorry about the ex tynt thing 🙂 )

          5. JimHirshfield

            contact me on first initial at tynt.com

          6. leigh

            i sent u email – let me know if you got it (vs. me ending up in your spam box)

        2. ShanaC

          So I have a vested interest in this now-Does this sort of data show where the chinks in paywall are?Should we be concerned overall knowing this about paywalls?

          1. JimHirshfield

            Not really chinks in paywalls; those publishers are well aware of this behavior (because they can see their own search referrer data from GA or Omniture, and it shows what users are entering into Google prior to arriving at their site). I believe many paywall sites aren’t too concerned about this behavior because it is only a small portion of users doing it, and the pubs still want their content discovered and interacted with over at Google News.It’s not a universal situation. IOW, not every paywall site opens the doors wide to (every) visitor from Google.

          2. leigh

            Jim – what’s your email addy?  I’d like to get a demo of your product if i could.  🙂

          3. ShanaC

            hmm, interesting when it comes to “high end” content creation…need to mull over this

        3. Vitomir Jevremovic

          Can you image if we could track the copy of a copy.. or a share of a copy of a share

    2. fredwilson

      Stats! God i love stats

      1. JimHirshfield

        Thanks, but you can just call me Jim.

        1. Matt A. Myers

          Hi Jim

          1. JimHirshfield

            Hi Matthew 

        2. William Mougayar

          that’s an old joke :)Charles de Gaulle’s wife walks in on him while he’s naked in the bathroom.Oh my God she saysYou can call me Charles(it sounds better in french)

          1. Rohan

            hehe. still good. 

        3. fredwilson


    3. leigh

      that’s interesting particularly considering it’s more work to share txt — means there is a need that’s not being serviced very well right now (again i flog gimmebar 🙂

      1. JimHirshfield

        Well, it is more work to highlight text and copy it, versus one click copying of the URL. But it’s very common for readers to want to call attention to a particular passage in an article or blog post. So they copy that passage as opposed to just sharing a link.

      2. William Mougayar

        Tynt is a Canadian company, in Calgary.

    4. ShanaC

      where did you get this data???

      1. JimHirshfield

        I work for Tynt.com. We work with publishers to show them the good side of reader copy behavior. Our javascript tracks the words that readers copy, how much they copy, from what pages do they copy, etc.

  6. Carl Rahn Griffith

    So important we never forget the simplicity, beauty and power of the URL.The URL is the ISBN for everyone.

  7. ShanaC

    I uses that feature in android all the time.Now I wish that behavior went to my big computer….

  8. William Mougayar

    If you’d like to email a link in 1 click, you need to install a Gmail/Chrome plugin extension that does that. I use it all day long.

    1. JimHirshfield

      I use that one too. Great little plugin.

      1. leigh

        got any that allows copy and paste highlighted text? my one big beef about chrome is that for some reason, command C and paste into word doesn’t often work (again i could be being stupid but i didn’t have the same issue w/ Firefox)

        1. William Mougayar

          Hmm…How about right click mouse? It shouldn’t be a tough one to build. We have a bookmarklet that takes highlighted text and turns it into a keyword alert. 

          1. leigh

            oh that bookmarklet sounds cool and would be very useful for me – show me how it works next time i see you ….

  9. Dan Lewis

    As link sharing becomes easier and easier, it’s also becoming less and less reliant on sharer-created content/context.  As in, I can share a link to a video on Facebook or Twitter and limit myself to one line of explanation, and not only is it acceptable, but it’s an *expected* result created by the platform.  Text, Kik, BBM, etc. are more of the same.  Tumblr has also gone this direction, especially with images/videos.This isn’t anything new, of course. We’ve been sharing links in similar ways via email and IM for a decade or more.  But interestingly, I think it’s supplanting long-form writing by non-writers (i.e. blogs).  The older generation is replacing its blogs with status updates and tweets; the younger one is not even starting, and instead sharing URLs (often translating immediately into the images/videos themselves) via Tumblr.  Google Chrome has even taken over the address bar and multi-purposed it into a search query box.But what’s weird?  Two things:1) You can readily share content now without ever knowing the URL.  It’s still there. somewhere, behind a blue link on a Facebook status update or obfuscated by a false URL such as a t.co or bit.ly.  Your friends can share or retweet or reblog it and neither you nor their friends ever see the actual URL.  (And in some cases, the content itself doesn’t travel with a URL in the message — consider a text-only tweet — but obviously has one.)2) At some point — perhaps already — the pendulum will have swung too far away from the blog-like tradition of creating context with the content you share.  I think we’re there already, and a well-written, thought-out 500 words can make a simple link to a Wikipedia entry or photo can demand a premium. But whether that has happened yet is irrelevant; given what you (Fred) said above, it’s obviously going to happen, as it becomes easier and easier and easier to quickly capture and share a URL.

    1. awaldstein

      Thoughtful Dan, thanks.I hadn’t thought of this this way.Without context it’s all noise or more clearly, channeled noise.There’s a difference between sharing a YouTube link of some band (this is coo!l) and sharing today’s link from GigaOm on FB and whether it could have been started in Boston. If I share the link and add a comment, there is my contextual perspective and opinion. Without context and opinion it’s just a thumbs up. Less interesting and useful and revealing about my perspective.

      1. Dan Lewis

        Thanks. I’m actually going a bit deeper than what you’re picking up on, though.  I just didn’t articulate it well.Take a blog post from 2002, and there are probably 3-5 (or more!) links in it.  The blog post ties the linked-to ideas together.  A tweet or Fb update today has one link.  At some point, the value from the old multi-URL blogging style is going to become a premium value because the pendulum is over-swinging the equilibrium point.

        1. awaldstein

          Thanx for the clarification.Understood…but I don’t have a sense that the arc of the future evolution of behavior and values is shaped like a pendulum though.

          1. Matt A. Myers

            I can’t picture it as a pendulum either. I see it more as shift in volumes and the qualities (including value) attached to those volumes becoming more refined, boundaries more defined.”Blog posts” with depth to thought, simple ideas or feelings can simply and easily be expressed (re-expressed / re-posted re-tweeted ..), and those forms will start to cohere into their respective pools / streams.Ahhh – a bit like a river formation where streams link into other rivers; Perhaps general contexts being oceans, rivers being specific contexts; There are oceans that feed rivers and rivers that feed oceans and lakes.The oceans can be still or roaring with crashing waves (peak hours vs less activity), lakes are the pools of deep thought for individuals that feed rivers (specific context) and those rivers lead into an ocean. Oceans are vast and you can and will get lost if you stay too long (noise).Evaporation and precipitation (receiver, sharer) could be aligned with the sharing that occurs in the oceans, rivers, or the lakes; Native or perhaps not to those rivers or oceans, perhaps individuals exploring to discover.Quick, someone give me money to patent this metaphor..

      2. leigh

        wasn’t that called friend feed?

        1. FAKE GRIMLOCK


          1. Robert Holtz

            Hey, Grim, I thought you don’t eat your friends!FriendFeed means something else entirely around YOU. 😛

          2. FAKE GRIMLOCK


      3. Matt A. Myers

        I think in these general channels it is, with who you are following and who is sharing, it is the person (their personality?) that dictates the context.Will people want to have a general context to share from? Will people want a specific context to share from? I think it will depend on how important certain contexts are to their life, and if a certain part of someone’s life regularly is inside a specific context then they will want to express that in a different place outside of a general context.I think there is room for the general contexts to share from as well, though they will be for specific groups, lists, circles .. People will need this and I see it more of where people are just open to discovery and exploring – a wild wild west environment of sorts, where everything can be exciting but at the same time overwhelming. The problem with all conversation or exploring going on in a specific stream is it kills the level of relevancy (creates noise). I don’t follow a bunch of people I’d like to follow on different platforms because I don’t want them in my main news feeds on those sites, and it doesn’t feel easy (even though the functionality is sort of there) to manage it all; I don’t want to actually have to think about managing it. I think how I will direct my projects the problem can start to be figured out. If I had the resources so I didn’t have to worry about my own personal bills, and had some for extra help then I’d figure it out.I wrote a really really long thought on my phone relating to this 6 – 12 months ago. Haven’t thought about it much since though, just one of those moments that reaffirmed what I was working towards doing.

    2. Matt Terenzio

      One reason why Semantic markup standards like RDFa are important so that we keep the language of media on the web open and not hidden behind proprietary protocols.If only for the reason that we don’t want to have to craft our media objects in multiple ways to work well with all the different services we’d like to share them with.But also so we don’t just default to a few big ones like FB and Twitter and thereby shut out other innovative services.

    3. Aaron Klein

      Totally agree about the issue of link context. That’s been a frustrating part of Twitter’s move into t.co – I understand the strategic reason for it, but the user experience isn’t great unless you’re in Twitter’s web app and the long URL is exposed.That’s why I really liked the move towards vanity short links. I knew a disq.us link would take me to a comment, a youtu.be link would be a video and a nyti.ms link would take me to an article.Twitter started looking up bit.ly links at some point, and it was awesome. I could hover, see the longer URL and decide whether to click. In a loud coffee shop? A bit.ly link pointing to youtube.com wouldn’t necessarily get a click.

    4. ShanaC

      Maybe it isn’t about the link per say – it is about referencing the content, and just like with footnots, we need accurate long and shorthand ways of doing references.

  10. aminTorres

    I’ve always wished to have the ability to store multiple things on one’s clipboard. Imagine if by the end of the day, you have copied 12 urls and by holding down on a click event, you get a tooltip that previews them all, then you can release on the one you want to paste.Would love that, if there is a plugging or something that let’s me do that please point me to it.

    1. fredwilson

      Genius idea. Complicated execution i think

      1. aminTorres

        umnn, the problem is that it has to be something that runs on your machine. that you can copy a url from a browser and be able to paste on to another app, like in photoshopor on to mac mail for instance.  Making it an extension for the browser may not be that much complicated within the browser but then the experience may be limited to the browser only. Another thing is that short urls may be ok but large chuck of texts will provably have to be truncated to single liners on the preview… so yeah. it’s likely to get complicated. 

        1. Ben Apple

          That is genius, someone get to work on that

          1. maccordrey

            Fred, great article.My company is currently designing a solution for this.browser extension for 1-click link-sharing + cloud-based link-sharing repository + symmetric group sharing = our platform.cloud-based platform replaces need for tool that works across devices/OS.What do you guys think?

          2. Mordy Kaplinsky

            I believe that the real-time technology behind the late Google Wave has the ability to do these types of things. it is in effect a real-time messaging program from a single device to multiple programs on multiple devices.

    2. testtest

      and across devices. that problem has been pissing me off for years

    3. leigh

      gmmebar.com will change your life – if you want to store content bits, tag them and search them later, it’s amazing…..(although i had a discussion w/ a number of avc’rs on twitter who all thought it was stupid – of course i reminded them that they all probably thought Twitter was stupid too 🙂

    4. Matt A. Myers

      I think the net is just moving this way automatically/evolving. This will probably end up being native to things like Chromebook.It’s really just like temporarily saving information (you could copy/paste into a specific text edit file), and a physical-mental compartment where you know things are saved and you can do what you want with them, or if you don’t and you shutdown then they’ll be lost, so will force you to gauge their importance or be deleted.

      1. aminTorres

        Agree!, I thought about this, I may make some time and build this for OSXI thought about the shutting down which is why it be cool to have a history that is accessible elsewhere (somehow, not quite thought out ) but it be coolto see all of the links or texts you’ve copy and pasted over a period of time.I for one can’t think if what links, urls or whatever I shared last week.It be cool if can make bookmarks too…will see.

  11. Cam MacRae

    I use Read It Later as a clipboard via the bookmarklet or tweetbot. It’s cross platform, syncs for offline, formats things nicely for those whose eyesight *ahem* ain’t what it used to be, and has most of the sharing options (in the apps that is, the web interface is still a bit sparse).Not perfect, but not bad either.

  12. leeschneider

    I find myself copying and storing links several ways: 1) Email – Copy, email to a single person or a group.  I no longer email links to myself now that i’m using…2) Instapaper – “Read Later” bookmarklet in browser or in app function elsewhere (Twitter, etc)3) Tumblr – Share link on Tumblr using the “Share on Tumblr” bookmarklet if in browserI’ve been using RockMelt as my browser for a few months and really like the Share features and the App edge.

    1. William Mougayar

      Yeah. I love the RockMelt built-in Share functions (into Twitter & Facebook), but there are plugins you can find that do the same thing for other browsers, although not natively. 

  13. Dan Jackson

    ios 5 allows you to email and tweet urls directly from safari

  14. sigmaalgebra

    Yes, we agree that URLs are important.  For our work, they are some of our most important data.So, receiving a string that should be a URL, is it a ‘legal’ URL?Given two URLs, are they ‘equivalent’ even though there may be some differences in capitalization, etc.?  So, need a way to ‘canonicalize’ URLs.Just got the code for these things running.  In part made use of the Microsoft .NET class System.Uri.  That class helped.But we should notice:  To value URLs so highly represents a lack of good, extant functionality in finding URLs later!  I.e., a person shouldn’t to be pushing around URLs dozens of times a day; the solution is not a better UI/UX!So, yup, there’s a problem in extant functionality for finding URLs later!  E.g., early in the Web people used to put their personally, cherished, coveted, ‘curated’ URLs at the bottom of their personal Web page.  Now B. Feld has a long list of such curated URLs in the right column of his Web page; clearly he put the URLs there because they are relevant and otherwise not so easy to find.  So, yup, the world needs more functionality in finding desired URLs! 

    1. MikeSchinkel

      I disagree. The value of a well-designed URL and the future findability of the resource identified by the URL are orthogonal issues.  The URL has far more value than just findability; the standard use of URLs (or as the W3C likes to call them, URIs) enables linking, crawling, automation and so much more. The URL link the two other fundamental aspects of the web HTTP and HTML (pun intended) thus I’d argue that the URL is the most fundamentally important building block of the web, and also intensely underrated by most people. But that’s JMTCW.

      1. sigmaalgebra

        There’s something wrong here:  I believe that we are in full agreement.It appears that you read something very different from what I intended to write.E.g., for your”The URL has far more value than just findability”I would agree with you more than you are agreeing with yourself and make your statement stronger:  My view is that now on the Internet all but a tiny fraction of the URLs have meager to no significant “findability”!For more, for your”The value of a well-designed URL and the future findability of the resource identified by the URL are orthogonal issues.”I would make that still stronger and say ‘independent’ instead of “orthogonal”.  Actually, the common practice in computing of saying ‘orthogonal’ has always been a poor substitute for ‘independent’!  Orthogonal is synonymous with perpendicular and, thus, really needs a context of geometry, e.g., a vector space with an inner product, hopefully a Hilbert space, while independent is asking much less.  Really, that A and B are ‘independent’ means that knowing one of them says nothing at all about the other one which is essentially the intended meaning here for a URL and ‘findability’.For URI, if go to, say,http://msdn.microsoft.com/e…then begin to conclude that a URL is a special case of a URI and that a URI can be, e.g., an FTP address or a file on a file server while a URL is mostly just from using TCP/IP DNS to translate an internet protocol address to a ‘domain name’.  So, mostly in this thread we are considering just URLs and not all URIs.For just why the W3C wants to consider URIs should ask Jeff Jaffee!For the ‘findability’ problem, imagine you have an interest in venture capital and want to construct the list of URLs on the right of Brad Feld’s page without seeing his page!  And imagine that some of that content you want to be video clips at Vimeo, YouTube, C-SPAN, etc.  Now how to solve the ‘findability’ problem?Basically what you want is URLs with content relevant to the ‘meaning’ you have in mind for your interest, and so far software has a tough time working with such ‘meaning’.  Hmm …! 

        1. MikeSchinkel

          Evidently I misunderstood; I apologize for my confusion. Clearly I didn’t understand what you meant by “findability”, but unfortunately after your clarification I realize I understand what you mean even less. Generally when I hear the term “findability” used in the context of the web I think of this[1]. As far as I can now tell, that is not what you mean so count me missing your point.Regarding “orthogonal”, while yes it can mean “perpendicular” it actually has at least two (2) definitions[2]. My use of it was meant as “statistically independent” which I still think was a better choice of adjective than simply “independent.”Regarding URLs vs. URIs, the first term (URL) is not a formal W3C term whereas the latter (URI) is. URLs are “locators” for the web and all URLs are URIs, but not all URIs are URLs; for example the ISBN URN. You can find more clarification here: [3].And finally your reference to Jeff Jaffee; something tells that the man responsible for all of W3C’s global operation is not likely to care much about the minutia of URIs vs URLs quite like technologists do. Asking the authors of [3] might get more enlightening results.[1] http://buildingfindablewebs…[2] http://www.google.com/?q=de…[3] http://www.w3.org/TR/uri-cl

          1. sigmaalgebra

             Apparently we’re still in agreement:For Jeff, I know him since at one time we both worked in the same building.  Both from that and from his position at W3C I agree that he may not have an opinion on URI versus URL.  Here I was joking about Jeff.You were the one who introduced ‘findability’, and I’d never heard of that before and just assumed it meant a domain name that would be easy to guess making the Web site easy to ‘find’.  With your reference, I see that ‘findability’ has been given a more definite and complicated meaning that covers ‘search engine optimization’ (SEO) techniques and more.I was saying that users need much more powerful means to ‘find’ Web sites that they will find good for their interests.Yes, I just said ‘independent’, and you are correct that ‘statistically independent’ is better.  A little better still is ‘probabilistically independent’ which I omitted to be simpler.  Alas, in being simple, I also omitted any clear explanation of ‘independent’.The Google definition, at the link you gave, of orthogonal as the same as statistically independent (what I called ‘independent’ which is the same as probabilistically independent) is an incorrect use of ‘orthogonal’:  To see this, suppose real random variables X and Y are such that E[X^2] is finite and similarly for Y. Then E[XY] is defined, and we say that the X and Y are ‘orthogonal’ if and only if E[XY] = 0.But the set of all such random variables forms a vector space over the real numbers, and E[XY] is an inner product on that vector space.Indeed, in ordinary real two and three dimensional space, perpendicular is the same as orthogonal for the relevant inner product.For random variables, orthogonal is not sufficient for independence.  However if the joint distribution of X and Y is Gaussian, then orthogonal does imply independent.  As I recall, a proof of this result is inWilliam Feller, ‘An Introduction to Probability Theory and Its Applications, Second Edition, Volume II’, ISBN 0-471-25709-5, John Wiley & Sons, New York.Or, the Google definition omitted the Gaussian assumption.Here I am considering ‘probabilistic independence’ since nothing ‘statistical’ is involved.  Actually, ‘statistically independent’ is not something different but just somewhat sloppy terminology for ‘probabilistically independent’.Independent really does mean that knowledge of one of X or Y says nothing about the other one thus justifying the terminology ‘independent’.  That is, as is standard from the Radon-Nikodym (R-N) result, if the set of random variables {X, Y} is independent, then E[Y|X] = E[Y] which says that X just doesn’t help predict the value of Y. That is, via R-N, E[Y|X] is the X-almost sure unique random variable that is a function of X but integrates like Y over all events defined by X (here I am slightly simplifying a fully careful measure theory treatment).Rudin gives von Neumann’s proof of the R-N result, and the connection with conditional expectation is made clear in, say,Jacques Neveu, ‘Mathematical Foundations of the Calculus of Probability’, Holden-Day, San Francisco.So, in computer science, when the exposition wants to say that concepts A and B have nothing to do with each other, ‘independent’ would be better than ‘orthogonal’.I give up on getting computer people to quit saying ‘orthogonal’ when they mean ‘independent’.  As I did discover, and let Jeff know, sometimes it can be a bit difficult for some computer people to understand measure theory!

  15. Woody Lewis

    Funny about Chrome being the OS. I still use an ’07 MacBook Pro, mainly because I’m on remote boxes so much and don’t really use legacy apps like Photoshop anymore. So when I recently (finally) upgraded to Lion and noticed how much memory Thunderbird and Firefox hog, I switched to Chrome exclusively, for browsing and email. I still download to T-bird at the end of the day, if I remember, but having that browser-as-OS attitude is the future. When I have time to play with all the plugins I’ve downloaded, I will…:)/w

  16. Aaron Klein

    This points to another reason of why I love Android. It still needs some work here and there, but the empowerment of developers makes for a superior experience in some key ways.I used to “favorite” tweets with links I wanted to check out later.Now I tap Share, and tap “Add to Read It Later”…and instantly, RIL works in the background to sync that URL to my Android.If I’m walking onto an airplane and have to go offline…I’ll actually have that content available on the flight.(On the iPhone, I’d have to open the RIL app and keep the phone from going to sleep to let it sync. That’s the power of real multitasking.)

  17. Elia Freedman

    The fact that the URL is hidden is one of the things I don’t like about apps. Take Facebook’s app, for instance. I have no idea what URL I am looking at in their (very nice otherwise) application and not even certain I could grab the URL and send it to someone else without sharing on my own wall.The other problem, and something I read lately, is that many apps are not using https so all of that transmission is open to packet sniffing.I, too, love the URL. Being able to read a URL is an important skill in today’s world. And I am afraid we are losing some of that behind applications.

    1. fredwilson

      I love the URLi am with youI hate apps for the same reason

    2. sull

      I also love semantic URLs that emulate natural language sentences.  These are uncommon and require domain hacks to be seamless but i’m the type of geek who appreciates them and enjoy making my own variants.Before t.co URL Wrapper, I tried some tweets that were entirely made of a hyperlink written as a sentence, essentially providing a link and a contextual message coupled together and that traveled together.  This would only work via the API since Twitter truncated the links.Now you can leverage the t.co URL Wrapper to replace the URL with other content to achieve the same thing as an html a href link. Unfortunately it seems to be limited to 20 characters long… which leads me to another point about sharing URLs…Understanding that I am the exception and not the norm when it comes to my interest in the structure of URLs, I wonder if all that is needed to be displayed for any link is the source domain name which is the key to a decision based on trust and reputation.  Again taking Twitter as an example, when a link and short message is tweeted and the displayed link is replaced or truncated down to the source domain only, is this sufficient? Considering that many URLs are indeed long and ugly and not structured in a way that is human-understandable, I would assume that yes this is enough.  The user who sees the tweet can choose to click based on 1) the Twitter user who tweeted the link 2) The exposed source domain name (i.e. nytimes.com) 3) knowing that t.co URL Wrapper has done some level of verification that attempts to filter out security risks (malware etc).  I do think the long URL should be exposed when hover over a link regardless.

  18. Laurent Boncenne

    On Windows Phone here, copy url and share page are there, at least with mango.This is indeed a powerful feature. 

    1. Tom Labus

      When do you get the new Nokia Mango phones, Laurent?

      1. Laurent Boncenne

        I’m in France, I think we’ll get it around mid november, but I already picked an omnia 7 for my mom 6 months ago (she loves it) and I got one a week earlier for 10€ (renewal contract) so the choice was easy.As for a lumia for myself, I don’t know I’m a bit disappointed by the lumia 800 who lacks a front facing camera and I intend to use skype as soon as they come up with an app….But if the rumors around the Lumia 900 are true, I’ll definitely switch to nokia without a second thought!Considering a windows phone yourself?

        1. Tom Labus

          My next phone, waiting for NOK here.  I guess early 2012.

          1. Laurent Boncenne

            You won’t be disappointed! =)

  19. David Petersen

    Dozens of url shares/day??  OK I’ve finally got Fred figured out.  He is basically like a kid who goofs around on the Internet 80 hours/week.  What a way to make a living!

    1. fredwilson


  20. Vinod Ralhan

    Fred If your default email is gmail.Try this extension “Send from Gmail”https://chrome.google.com/w…vinod

    1. fredwilson


      1. Robert Holtz

        @google-6d315ec43697cb18ea50a31686a28780:disqus is right… that’s what I use.Another cool thing in Firefox that I thought was gimmicky at first but I find I use it CONSTANTLY is when you right-click on the address bar, there is an option that comes up called “Paste & Go.”What’s nice about it is in one click you’ve selected whatever was in the address bar (so that new text will erase/replace the current URL), it pastes in the new URL, and it goes ahead and loads up the URL.  It is rather slick.

  21. A J Cohen

    I am a bit.ly hound. Yet to not waste as much time-suck on link or content “saving” …..I need a Social Collaborative Research tool to help me organize what I want to save. Found One!!!https://coknown.com/Going to see it in action this weekend in Denver. http://bit.ly/jl1WkO Hoping more of us than not find it useful as it is fully deployed.

  22. Prokofy

    Yes, exactly. And precisely because of this Android feature, and frankly, the ease with which ctr-c/ctr-V can be used on a URL in any browser, is why all this ranting and raging about the demise of Google Reader sharebear stuff was so misplaced. 

  23. Pete Griffiths

    I agree.  Which is why the trend to “Breaking the Web with hash-bangs” is so disturbing.   The growing tension between web sites and web apps masquerading as conventional web conformant sites is growing.  It started with Ajax but the problems of content  hidden behind javascript calls has resulted in the hash-bang plague upon our house.

    1. MikeSchinkel

      “Which is why the trend to “Breaking the Web with hash-bangs” is so disturbing.”Oh, do I completely agree with that!  I so wish Twitter hadn’t gone that direction because so many (like Klout) are now mimicking them.  Sad.

  24. Joseph K Antony

    Chrome isn’t the ideal solution for some. Like it crashes Excel. For some of us who are intensive users of Excel and there is no substitute this is a major let down. Guess the solution will happen soon..

  25. bsaitz

    This is super handy for a) shortening and b) tracking links you share: https://chrome.google.com/w…

  26. MikeSchinkel

    I wish more people realized the value of the URL. Too many people and things keep trying to hide the URL saying “users don’t want to see or understand that.” I think that is an arrogant and foolish stance; people can easily learn when they realize there are benefits to doing so.Also, the rise of apps has seen a decline in URLs;  I think that is extremely worrying.  Imaging Twitter without URLs?

  27. Vitomir Jevremovic

    When URL gets transformed into something more advanced, like a link with additional features, descriptions, social interaction, two-way connection etc. And everyone starts linking in this new way, we get to the next level. Though, interface is a major problem, meaning it needs to be easy to use and innovative in order to be fun. Multitouch comes into mind.. Still we need to wait for this.. or maybe .. just do it

  28. spatro

    Fred,in iOS, there is no direct copy URL feature in the browser. By tapping the address bar, you first “Select all” and then choose “Copy”.Otherwise, it lets you open the URL in an email window or tweet.You said it right that share feature in iOS is not as extensive as in Android.-Sunil Patro

  29. Andy Shannon

    Hey Fred, have you seen http://www.clicktoapp.com/? If not, it shares any highlighted txt. URL sharing is an easy ctrl+L, ctrl+c, and click.

  30. the jump manual

    I think in these general channels it is, with who you are following and who is sharing, it is the person (their personality?) that dictates the context.