Google has realised that short URLs can be handy especially when dealing with the rather long and complicated URLs that it dishes out for its Google Maps service.

The answer? To create a plug-in for its Gmail client that automatically recognises the URL and then changes it on the fly accordingly.

Now when Gmail mobile users get sent a link to a Google map it will strip out the address and serve that as that the text rather than the usual gobbledygook.

"We all know that on a mobile device, screen space is scarce, so it's not very helpful when I get an email with a long link such as this Google Maps link", explained Google in a blog post. "To solve this problem, we now shorten the link and automatically convert raw links into named links, which we call 'Smart Links'".

Google says that aside from Maps, it will be supporting other URLs it creates including Google Maps directional queries (with one destination), Google Sites webpages, and YouTube videos with the promise of support for other services like Google Docs coming shortly.