Google’s new URL shortening service has finally taken flight.
Goo.gl now has its own dedicated website where you can shorten a URL and collect data about all the activity around it.
Google first announced it would be launching a URL-shortening service back in December of last year, choosing the top-level domain of Greenland (whose awesome coat of arms is on the left) to handle the honors. The company then made goo.gl short URL generation available through Feedburner and Google Toolbar, but the general public couldn’t access it on the web or third-party apps like Twitter clients. It slowly rolled out into other Google products — Maps, News, Blogger — and just today became usable by the anyone on the web.
Since December’s launch, Twitter and Facebook have also pushed out their own URL-shortening services which, much like the early goo.gl model, are used to squish links within each network, but lack broad reach via a website or a public API.
And there will be an API in the future, Google says, so you can add goo.gl as a choice for shortening links in your applications when that arrives. Until then, there are some extensions — two for Chrome and one for Firefox — you can use if you don’t want to take a trip to Goo.gl.
The web service (or the front end, at least) is basic.
If you’re a signed-in Google user, you can view a history of the URLs you’ve shortened and see real-time stats on traffic, top referrers and some info on the people who are clicking, like their browser and platform. All of the collected data is public and can be viewed by anyone.
The service uses the same spam detection that’s in Gmail, so bad links theoretically get squashed. Read more at the Google Social blog.
As a bonus, you get a QR code for every link you shorten. You can either view it on the stats page for your link, or you can just append .qr to any short URL to generate a code. Why would you want to do this, you ask? Google’s Android platform for mobiles can read QR codes through a camera, making them a no-click passkey to a mobile-ready web page.
Try this one on for size: