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.