Nurph, which just launched its public beta, combines a URL shortener and chat rooms. You simply create a shortened link by going to Nurph.com and share it with your friends. That link will then take your friends over to the URL you shortened, which now features a Nurph chat room that pops up on the bottom right side of your browser window. Nurph is the successor of Nurphy.com, which will shut down at the end of April.
Give it a Try and Chat with Us
If you want to give Nurph a try, just click here and join your fellow ReadWriteWeb readers in a Nurph chat room attached to this post.
Twitter Integration: Leaving A Digital Trail
As Nurph's co-founder Neil Cauldwell noted when we talked to him and his fellow co-founder Paul Horsfall earlier this week, adding the Twitter feature was a request from some of Nurph's early beta testers. One interesting way to look at this feature is as a way of broadcasting your digital location. Whenever you enter a room - or "channel," as the Nurph team calls it - a message is pushed out to all of your Twitter friends who can then join you on this site.
One nice feature of the service is that whenever somebody posts a link to the chat room, clicking on that link will simply open up a new Nurph channel and won't take you out of the Nurph experience. From within the chat room, you can also share your link on Twitter, Facebook and by email.
Like all good URL shorteners, Nurph also offers a boookmarklet that will work with any browser. Links will also work on mobile browsers, though you will only see that chat room and not the site behind it.
Still in Beta
Given that the service just opened up its public beta, there are still some missing features - though they don't take away from the overall experience. Right now, for example, you can't see if any of your friends are currently typing in the chat room, which makes sticking to good chat etiquette hard. As of now, there are also no moderation features, though the team is thinking about this and you can report any vandalism here. As you have to sign in with Twitter, though, the Nurph team decided to keep spammers out by only allowing Twitter users with at least 25 followers to use the service.
There is also no API for third-party developers to hook into and integrate the URL shortener into their apps yet. Publishers, who often like to see detailed statistics about how their shortened URLs were used will also have to miss this feature if they use Nurph (unless, of course, they decide to shorten the Nurph link with another URL shortener).
Overall, though, this is a very interesting concept and it will be interesting to see if any larger publishers will adopt it for sharing their links and bringing their communities together. The team plans to regularly release new features during the public beta phase and it will be interesting to watch if and how users will adopt this service.