URL Shorteners Come To Google & Facebook

Google announced a new URL shortening service Goo.gl. It doesn’t replace Bit.ly and others because it only works right now with the Google Toolbar (and Feedburner) and you can’t directly access it as you might one of the established tools:

Google URL shortener is not a stand-alone service; you can’t use it to shorten links directly. Currently, Google URL Shortener is only available from the Google Toolbar and FeedBurner. If the service proves useful, we may eventually make it available for a wider audience in the future.

The Google Toolbar for IE and Firefox also now allows users to share any page with various social networks (Facebook, Twitter, et al)  — and incorporates the URL shortener in that effort as well.

For its part Facebook is testing a URL shortener, primarily for use in mobile right now.

Like “real-time search,” URL shortening is now a trend that caught on with Twitter because of space limitations. Twitter itself was partly inspired by SMS character limits (160).

Beyond joining the compressed URL bandwagon, the question is what are the direct and indirect benefits to Google and Facebook in creating these tools?

  • Having more traffic pass through the site/toolbar
  • Removing the need to go “off site”/elsewhere to accomplish this function
  • Analytics and social media insights

According to Hitwise “Bit.ly accounts for 48% of Short URL visits per [sic] last week.”

For more about URL shorteners in general, see our URL Shorteners: Which Shortening Service Should You Use? post.

Related Topics: Channel: SEO | Facebook | Google: Toolbar | Search Engines: Social Search Engines | Top News


About The Author: is a Contributing Editor at Search Engine Land. He writes a personal blog Screenwerk, about SoLoMo issues and connecting the dots between online and offline. He also posts at Internet2Go, which is focused on the mobile Internet. Follow him @gsterling.

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  • http://misc.info Misc.info

    Google has offered URL shorting services for a long long time now, but almost nobody bother to notice.

    On top of that, the original and still current offering by Google is the best way to handle this, as Google lets your domain be used as the URL shorten service.

    This eliminates the problem of branding, users confusing other links as yours, and more importantly in a lot of cases ownership of the link. As why oh why would any major brand let a 3rd party take control/ownership of its links, also read the fine print of many of the TOS in those 3rd parties and you will see that some have the option to run advertising, disable and even redirect the traffic.

    Here is Google’s shorten URL service, that is available for free to anyone that owns a domain name:


  • charm

    Google has offered URL shorting services for a long long time now, but almost nobody bother to notice.

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  • http://Skye Skye

    Interesting – the benefit of not having to go off site to shorten a URL is definitely appealing. I’m curious to see how this will affect Bit.ly’s stats. I very rarely see TinyURLs anymore since Twitter made the switch to Bit.ly. @charm there are other URL shortening solutions available that allow you to brand the shortened URL.

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