Google gave its Google URL Shortener history, analytics capabilities and its own home Sept. 30, enabling users to shorten URLs from the new goo.gl Website.
URLs can be quite long and unwieldy, particularly for Twitter and other services where character space per post is limited. Hence, the rise of Bit.ly, TinyURL and other such services.
Google, tired of relying on link-shortening services such as Bit.ly and TinyURL, built goo.gl as a minimalist link shortener and made goo.gl accessible to users from its Google Toolbar and Feedburner.
Now the tool is an official Google product with its own Website. Google also spruced up goo.gl with some features that Bit.ly offers. Users who are logged in to their Google Accounts will see a history of their shortened links.
By clicking the details link next to any shortened link, users will see real-time analytics data, covering traffic over time, top referrers and visitor profiles.
Google software engineer Muthu Muthusrinivasan said in a blog post that goo.gl has had near 100 percent uptime and uses the automatic spam detection the company employs for its Gmail application, which is used by more than 180 million people.
He also implied that existing link-shortening services lacked the reliability and security Google required in such a tool.
"With goo.gl, every time you shorten a URL, you know it will work, it will work fast, and it will keep working," Muthusrinivasan said.
"You also know that when you click a goo.gl shortened URL, you're protected against malware, phishing and spam using the same industry-leading technology we use in search and other products."
Eventually, Google will open up an API for developers to put goo.gl link shortening and analytics in their own applications.
Google doesn't want people to think it is out to kill Bit.ly or any other service. Google engineer Matt Cutts wrote:
"We needed a url shortener for Google itself. And then lots of people asked for this, so we're opening our own URL shortener to the world. Different URL shorteners have different philosophies; I view the goo.gl philosophy as running a tight, fast service without piling on a ton of features."
Google isn't the only Internet power to do this.
Twitter created its own URL shortener, t.co, to boost security and pave the way for its analytics offering for commercial accounts later this year. Facebook is also using a shortener fb.me internally.