, Google's fast URL shortener, has received an API that allows developers to add it to their own applications. Up until now, Google didn't offer an API for the tool, so building it into third-party apps has not been an option until now.

"With this API, developers are able to programmatically access all of the fast, sleek goodness that we currently provide via the web interface," a Google spokesperson said in a statement. "You can shorten and expand URLs using the API, as well as fetch your history and analytics. You could use these features for a wide variety of applications, enabling behaviors ranging from auto-shortening within Twitter or Google Buzz clients to running regular jobs that monitor your usage statistics and traffic patterns."

Google says is one of the fastest URL shorteners out there and that it is continuing to work on several usability improvements and to make its auto-detection of spam and malware even more robust. The service uses Google's scalable, multi-datacenter infrastructure to provide great uptime. launched as a feature for Google's own apps in December 2009, and eventually went public in late September 2010. At that time, Google said it was working on an API, and now it has finally delivered. To get started, you can check out the Google APIs console, documentation on Google Code, and example code in the Getting Started section.