4 ways Google's URL shortening service can win

As Google joins the Internet address shortening fray here's how it can differentiate itself

The Google URL shortening service Goo.gl, that allows you to transform long Web addresses into short easy to remember links, was opened to the public Friday. After nine months of testing the Goog.gl service, Google now joins the ranks of Bit.ly, TinyURL, and Ow.ly. All of these services cater to people who despise long URLs and use services such as Twitter to share Web address and limit messages to 140 characters.

Using Goo.gl new service a very long Web address is reduced to http://goog.gl/ followed by a combination of four letters and numbers. When someone types in the Goo.gl address the requested is routed through Google, which takes Web surfers to the intended site.

Google says it wants to keep its Goo.gl service lean, with an emphasis on stability, built-in spam protection, and speed. But that might not be enough to secure a spot on top of the link-shortening heap. Here are a few more features I'd like to see from Goo.gl:

Shortening Shortcuts Where They're Needed Most

Google has a lot of services that deal in hopelessly long URLs, such as search queries, Place pages and Maps results. Some people say URL shorteners are only good for Twitter social networks, but sending someone a massive URL for search-related services is just rude. If Google included small buttons to shorten these results on demand, sharing a link for directions to your house would be a lot more pleasant.

Expand Links in Chrome

One of the frustrations of shortened URLs is the inability to see where they're taking you ahead of time. There's no shortage of URL expansion plug-ins for Web browsers -- Chrome URL Expander, for instance, makes every URL appear in full -- but I'd like to see this function built directly into the Chrome browser, so when you roll over a link, there are no mysteries.

Create a "Copy" Button

This may seem really trivial, but Google should take a page from bit.ly and include a one-click way to copy shortened URLs to the clipboard. Having to select the shortened link and copy it with a contextual menu in the browser is just one extra step that makes Goo.gl less desirable.

Get Creative

Facebook does something clever with its own URL shortening service: When you type in a user name immediately after the URL, such as fb.me/PCWorld, you're taken directly to that site's Facebook page. I would love to see Goo.gl become a shortcut to services (imagine Goo.gl/m taking you to maps) or even searches (taking you directly to the results when inserting query immediately after the URL).

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags browsersinternetGoogletwittersearch enginessoftwareapplications

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Jared Newman

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?