The phrase "Google it" is getting a whole new meaning today; the search giant has just released its goo.gl URL shortener to the public and created a standalone website so that anyone can use Google to shorten and track the URLs they share via social media sites and e-mail.
Goo.gl initially debuted last December as a feature integrated into other Google (Google) products. Google's newly public URL shortener competes with a myriad of other popular services, Bit.ly (bit.ly) being the most notable of the bunch.
The company claims that its shortener boasts stability, security and speed. The former two are especially important as several other services have been plagued by both downtime and malicious parties masking deceptive links. Goo.gl features automatic spam detection, and "near 100% uptime since our initial launch," according to the company's announcement.
The product also comes with expected URL-tracking features. As a goo.gl user, you can log in to your Google account to view URL history, traffic sources, referrers and visitor profiles for countries, browsers and platforms.
Google is known to hide bonus easter egg features in its products, and goo.gl is no different. Earlier today, Google engineer Matt Cutts tweeted one such easter egg — add .qr to a shortened goo.gl URL and you'll create a QR code that, when scanned, will redirect to the original URL. It's a quirky additive that makes goo.gl all the more friendly for brands and marketers experimenting with QR codes. A Twitter (Twitter) tipster also informed us that you can add .info to the goo.gl URL to check out analytics.
As for why Google is going public with goo.gl, it's anybody's guess. Initially, goo.gl was designed because the company didn't want to rely on other URL shorteners for the same purpose. Our guess is that it's another small part to the much speculated about social strategy. After all, Google is the business of URLs, and URLs are the fabric of the social web. What's your take? Share your thoughts in the comments.
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