Google hasn’t moved to Greenland, even though the TLD (Top Level Domain) of its new URL shorten service “Goo.gl” is the domain for Greenland. With the announcement of Goo.gl, Google takes on other URL shortening services such as Tiny URL and Bit.ly. And in case you are wondering what does URL stand for or “what is a url”, here is the URL definition: The term “URL” refers to the web address of a page on the world wide web. URL stands for ‘Uniform Resource Locator” – “uniform” because the addressing is standardized, “resource” refers to the content (or ‘resource’) on the web that you want to see, and “locator” referring to the fact that it points to that resources location on the web. The Goo.gl service allows you to take a long URL and shorten it to something that is much shorter but still takes you to the original page.
Explains Google, in their announcement of Goo.gl:
“Google URL Shortener at goo.gl is a service that takes long URLs and squeezes them into fewer characters to make a link that is easier to share, tweet, or email to friends. The core goals of this service are:
* Stability – ensuring that the service has very good uptime
* Security – protecting users from malware and phishing pages
* Speed – fast resolution of short URLs
Google URL Shortener is currently available for Google products and not for broader consumer use.”
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That last line discloses the first ‘gotcha’ – in fact, Goo.gl can only be used with Google Toolbar and with FeedBurner, which is now a division of Google, although Google has suggested that they may make it more widely available in the future.
The second ‘gotcha’ is in the fine print, which states that “Google may choose to publicly display aggregate and non-personally identifiable statistics about particular shortened links, such as the number of end user clicks.”
Which means that (as one might expect) Google will be collecting and analyzing the information you ‘share’ with them by using their Goo.gl service.
The collection of this data may be secondary to the real aim of Goo.gl, which is, according to many industry pundits, a head-on run-up at Bit.ly, which is currently the URL shortening service of choice among, for example, the Twitter set. Services such as Twitter, which limit message length to 140 or fewer characters (which is dictated by a character limit of SMS text messaging) have created a never-before seen premium on text message space – and anyone who wants to send a link via such service wants to chop the length of that URL down to the smallest size possible.
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Clearly Google gets this, even addressing it in the announcement of the new Goo.gl services on their company blog: “People share a lot of links online. This is particularly true as microblogging services such as Twitter have grown in popularity.”
Or, as the oft-acerbic Register put it, “With a service like Twitter, which allows only 140 characters per post, a url shortener saves much-needed room for additional banality.”
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