Short review of Google's goo.gl address shortener
You've got another way to point people to a Web address in a minimum of characters -- goo.gl, a new link shortener from Google launched in limited form last year but now open to anybody with a Web browser.
(Note: People often call these services "URL shorteners," but I prefer to avoid that abbreviation, inasmuch as we have the plain-English alternative of "address.")
Google's shortener competes with numerous other options -- for example, TinyURL and bit.ly -- that all do the same thing: Turn lengthy, unwieldy addresses into brief shortcuts that you can easily share on Twitter, in other status updates or in print. For example, using goo.gl, you can convert "http://voices.washingtonpost.com/fasterforward/2009/08/link-shortener_trim_sees_its_l.html" into the much-tidier "http://goo.gl/OxH1."
Google touts its shortener's advantages as stability, security and speed -- though I can't say I've noticed any real shortfalls in those areas at competing services:
Stability: We've had near 100% uptime since our initial launch, and we've worked behind the scenes to make goo.gl even stabler and more robust.
Security: We've added automatic spam detection based on the same type of filtering technology we use in Gmail.
Speed: We've more than doubled our speed in just over nine months.
But otherwise, goo.gl falls short of my usual link shortener, bit.ly. (Note that The Post uses bit.ly's services to generate "wapo.st" shortcuts; .st is the country code for the African island nation of São Tomé and Príncipe, which I'm told is a perfectly nice democracy.) Bit.ly is much faster to use, with one-click copying of shortened links to your clipboard and a bookmarklet that, once dragged to your bookmarks menu or browser toolbar, generates shortcut addresses with a single click.
Bit.ly's bookmarklet also provides near-instant reporting of how many people clicked on your link, and how many people got to that page through other bit.ly links.
At Goo.gl, I have to return to the site to do those things unless I want to install third-party extensions in the Firefox or Chrome browsers.
But my real reason for avoiding goo.gl is this: I feel like I already use more than enough Google services. You have to draw the line somewhere, and it's easy to do so when Google' service doesn't offer meaningful advantages over the competition. Sorry, goo.gl developers.
Am I being too harsh there? What's your read on goo.gl? Give me your (short!) assessment of it in the comments.
| October 1, 2010; 11:02 AM ET
Categories: The Web
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