G-Chat G-Litch?
December 10, 2008 9:59 AM   Subscribe

A friend and I were Gchatting and accidentally stumbled upon a useless but cool linking glitch. Is it really a glitch? Check it out!

Okay, so in Gchat, if you type any sequence of letters and then a period, and then one letter, and then another period, and then two more letters, Gchat automatically turns it into a link. For example:


Sometimes it links to real websites, sometimes it links to nowhere. We discovered this when I randomly messaged her something about "will.i.am" and it showed up as a link to a fan website. It doesn't work with numbers. What's going on here? Does anybody know? Is it a glitch or is it somehow useful to people smarter than ourselves?
posted by RingerChopChop to Computers & Internet (7 answers total)
Nothing glamourous, it is thinking that you are typing in a website, much like if you type ask.metafilter.com in it auto-links to the website. Instead of maintaining a huge list of domain extensions (.com, .net, .biz, .co.uk, etc) they've simply put some code in that says "if a string of characters is separated by a period and the characters following the period are between 2 and 4 letters, hyperlink to that address.
posted by genial at 10:02 AM on December 10, 2008

will.i.am is the URL of a will.i.am fansite.

.am is the country domain for Armenia.
posted by game warden to the events rhino at 10:03 AM on December 10, 2008

It's basically just how gchat tries to be helpful by making anything that might be a link into a link. So this works for two-letter endings like del.icio.us or four-letter ones like washingtonelectric.coop or longer ones like icom.museum

I think it's just Google saying "this is likely going to work more times than it doesn't work and when it works it's great" So, not a big but a feature that sometimes doesn't do what it was intended.
posted by jessamyn at 10:04 AM on December 10, 2008

Google "top level domains" and see if the last two letters are a domain name. For example: .cx= christmas islands, .es = spain, .is = iceland etc. What this is doing in a really lazy way is turning what.i.write.com or what.this.is into a link so one wouldn't have to cut/paste into browser if looking up. Either I'm right or you've discovered the portal to Dimension 5.
posted by ezekieldas at 10:04 AM on December 10, 2008

This, of course, is the same kind of filter code that takes "<3" and turns it into that freaky-deaky rotating heart that turns red before your very eyes.
posted by Spatch at 10:06 AM on December 10, 2008 [1 favorite]

If you type something it thinks is a link, it tries to make it into a link. No glitch.
posted by mikeh at 10:28 AM on December 10, 2008

(it's too bad it can be explained. I did not know but was hoping that it'd be a cool freaky and mysterious thing.)
posted by mcbeth at 12:30 AM on December 11, 2008

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