Skip to main content's shorten API

When the @ URL shortener originally debuted it was internal only. It initially had no web interace, no statistics, really not much of anything. While used mostly for @ and the Google Toolbar a few creative hackers where able to reverse engineer the shorten API.

Several months pass and Google has publicly launched the service with a fully working web interface. Also available are click through stats and and a history of links generated with your account. Google had this to say about the official API:

...we wanted to let you know we do plan to release an official API for in the future. You’ll be able to use the API to shorten URLs, expand URLs, and view analytics from directly within your own applications.

While poking around the web interface I discovered the shortening of URLs was happening with a simple AJAX request. No complicated algorithms needed. The exact request is a POST to with a paramater of url set to the URL you wish to shorten. You can see a snapshot of the request with @'s console.

Optionally you can pass a security_token paramater which will associate the shortened URL with your account. I do not however know how Google is generating the token. The format of security_token is hash:timestamp. Here is an example: j2Puli6c9i-lJjZse3WcJKzqC-No:1286694076556.

The security_token can also be used to get a users history. A POST request to will return a JSON payload with statistics for two hours, day, week, month and all time.

I checked a few combinations to get individual statistics for a shortened URL didn't have any luck. A few I tried were,,,, and a few others.

If you have any luck getting statistics for a single URL let me know in the comments.

Update: @ has created an unofficial API for getting click statistics.


  1. I'm also searching for API to work with my tweetmeme wordpress plugin.

  2. Hi, i have write an unofficial API for make that, it use the data visible on the "info" page.

    You can test it there :
    (the count value I returns is the "total clicks on all short URLs pointing to this long URL")

    Have fun
    ps: sorry for my bad english

  3. I tried doing this to get the statistics

    $page = file_get_contents('');

    preg_match('/urlshortener.initInfo\((.+)\);/', $page, $matches);
    $json_string = $matches[1];

    $data = json_decode($json_string, $array = true);


  4. I tried doing this to get the statistics

    $page = file_get_contents('');

    preg_match('/urlshortener.initInfo\((.+)\);/', $page, $matches);
    $json_string = $matches[1];

    $data = json_decode($json_string, $array = true);



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