Popular URL-shortening service Bit.ly launched Bit.ly Labs, whose first project, Bitly TV, a crowdsourcing-powered video site, and j.mp, another URL-shortener for "when you really need those two extra letters." Bitly.tv aims to track the videos being shared around the Internet in real time, and serves them in a tidy grid that changes upon each browser refresh. The site is mostly redundant in the sense that it tracks viral videos. But some little tools in the interface make it a little nice - the selected video pops to center, graying out the homepage behind it. The viewing window includes sharing buttons for Twitter and Facebook, and a real-time stream of tweets that include the bit.ly link for that video.

After Monday's release of Bit.ly Pro, the site has partnered with sites such as icanhascheezburger, Mashable, MTV Networks and TechCrunch. With the launch of j.mp, the tracking tools for bit.ly extended to the new service, enabling cross-site tracking.

The development occurs neatly alongside other proprietary link-truncators from sites such as the New York Times (nyti.ms), Facebook (fb.me) and Google. Eager to put their social stamp on the burgeoning category of space-saving URL-shrinkers, these companies are strategically positioning themselves amidst consistently important roles that blogs, Twitter, and other methods of sharing links and media play in our online lives.

Google's own URL shortener has core values that one will be familiar with through other Google services - speed, stability and security. The promise of security seems likely to be the one that will deliver - link shrink is an easy way to mask URLs for phishing and other malware schemes, and Google does have superior resources for pinpointing them. Dubbed Goo.gl, the service is limited to Google products only, not for broad consumer use, for now. Currently plans including incorporation into Google's browser toolbar, for instant sharing of the currently viewed Web page, and Feedburner RSS.