Bitly users were confronted today with a service almost unrecognizable from the link shortener that made its name. The emphasis now is on bookmarking and social integration, overshadowing its plain but practical ability to condense lengthy web addresses to a friendlier length.

The new bitly apparently wants to be a hub for all things linkable. Its interface assumes users will use it to collect and share all of their bookmarks – or bitmarks, in its own parlance – and to explore what their friends have marked and shared.

These bitmarks can also be bundled together as a way of staying organized. Additionally they can be created in collaboration with friends, with tracking that shows how it came together.

Bitly also added a new bitmarklet, Chrome extension and iPhone app to make sharing easier, in addition to opening the API for developers.

The comments on bitly’s blog give a strong indication that not everyone is happy with the new bitly, but the company is confident that this is just the griping that comes with any change to a popular service.

Related links:

Bitly – blog post

VentureBeat – Bitly launches new site, makes link shortening more complicated

All Things D – The Reinvention of Bitly: A Social Bookmarking Site for Mainstream Users

GigaOm – Redesigned Bitly wants to be your hub for saving and sharing links

The Verge – Bitly gets social-focused redesign and new iPhone app