15 December 2009

Google Debuts URL-Shortening Device

Channel Web

Google debuted a new URL shortening service, dubbed Goo.gl, which prompts the question: Why?

The program takes long, unwieldy URLs and miniaturizes them. Making a 20-character URL into an eight-character URL is handy for posting on microblogging sites and social networks, where space for text is at a premium. It's such a great idea that two other services, Tiny.url and bit.ly already perform the task quite well. Why then would Google offer the same service? Here are three reasons.

1. Security. Google said in a blog post by software engineers Muthu Muthusrinivasan, Ben D'Angelo and Devin Mullins that the service will automatically check each URL to detect sites that may be malicious and warn users when the short URL resolves to such sites.

2. Reputation.
Google thinks that its household name will appeal to users who will find it reassuring that Google shortened these URLs.

3. Brand expansion. The service is aimed at people who use the Google Toolbar and FeedBurner. Goo.gl is baked into various Google services like the Feedburner RSS service and Google Toolbar for Web browsers, on which users can now find the Goo.gl function as they would any other Google tool. It's important to note that for now, Google's URL shortener will not be available as a stand-alone service -- as are competitors bit.ly and tiny.url -- though that could change depending on how Goo.gl fares in the market.

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