Google’s URL shortener now has a home of its own. Users can go to the goo.gl website to abbreviate long URLs and then see a history and analytics for content they have minimised
In giving its Uniform Resource Locator (URL) Shortener a permanent home, Google has added history and analytics capabilities. This has made goo.gl website more competitive with other more-established services.
URLs can be too long, unwieldy and complex to use in forums and blogs, let alone on Twitter and other messaging systems where character space per post is limited.
Internal Project That Grew
Google was not the first to offer this service and followed in the steps of Bit.ly, TinyURL and others. Twitter created its own URL shortener (t.co) to boost security and pave the way for its analytics offering for commercial accounts later this year. Facebook is also using a shortener (fb.me) internally.
Google stressed that it does not want people to think it is out to kill Bit.ly or any other service. As with fb.me, Goo.gl started as an internal project and just grew from there.
“We needed a URL shortener for Google itself,” wrote Matt Cutts, a Google engineer, “and then lots of people asked for this. So we’re opening our own URL shortener to the world. Different URL shorteners have different philosophies; I view the goo.gl philosophy as running a tight, fast service without piling on a ton of features.”
Google has designed its web site as a minimalistic link shortener and made the goo.gl site accessible from the Google Toolbar and Feedburner. Google also spruced up the service with some features that Bit.ly offers.
Users who are logged in to their Google Accounts will see a history of their shortened links. By clicking the details link next to any shortened link, users will see real-time analytics data, covering traffic over time, top referrers and visitor profiles.
Google software engineer Muthu Muthusrinivasan implied existing link-shortening services lacked the reliability and security Google’s tool offers. In a blog post he said that Goo.gl has had near 100 percent uptime and uses the same automatic spam detection the company employs for its Gmail application, used by more than 180 million people.
“With goo.gl, every time you shorten a URL, you know it will work, it will work fast, and it will keep working,” Muthusrinivasan said. “You also know that when you click a goo.gl shortened URL, you’re protected against malware, phishing and spam using the same industry-leading technology we use in search and other products.”
Google will eventually open up an API for developers to allow them to put goo.gl link shortening and analytics into their own applications.