Today, Google announced the launch of goo.gl, its own URL shortening service. It is currently in a “limited” release for users of its Google products such as Feedburner and the Google Toolbar. This was done in concert with Feedburner’s new enhancement called Socialize, which will currently send your feed to the Twitter account you specify. In order for your feed to be socialized in near real-timte they suggest you leverage Feedburners “ping” feature whenever you publish a post. Overall, the Socialize feature of Feedburner is a nice enhancement and I hope that we will see additional services like Facebook, MySpace, and LinkedIn included in the future.
However, the most important feature that was launched today was the URL shortening service.Â Why is this so important? Because several URL shortening services have come and gone over the past couple years. With the demise of these services comes the inability to redirect the user from the shortened URL to the target URL, also known as linkrot.Â Brent Ozar wrote about his suspicions of using free web services to shorten URLs for this very reason. With Google the chance that your shortened URL will rot is virtually nil given Google’s appetite for data.
While Google has said it will protect users of its URL shortening from malware and phishing it would be nice to see a link preview feature enabled. The current version of TweetDeck (v0.32.1) simply opens your web browser with the resolved goo.gl link while for other services such as bit.ly a preview of the full URL is given in a pop-up window . This is either due to TweetDeck not understanding how to handle goo.gl’s URL preview or because goo.gl has not exposed a URL previewing feature. Google would be doing its users a disservice if a URL previewing feature is not exposed sooner than later.
Finally, how long before the current crop of URL shortening services fade away or are bought by Google. With the adoption of bit.ly as the default URL shortening service by Twitter in 2009 combined with Twitter’s explosive growth in 2009 the loss of bit.ly’s URL resolution over time could be troubling for many.
Will goo.gl become the dominating URL shortening service or do you think services such as bit.ly and ow.ly can survive?