Google+ launches vanity URLs, catching up to Facebook, Twitter

The tech giant starts rolling out custom URLs for certain brands and users, like +britneyspears and +toyota. Now, memorizing those long strings of numbers could be a thing of the past.

Both Twitter and Facebook have offered vanity URLs personalized to users' accounts for years -- something that has been glaringly vacant in Google Plus' URLs. But, that's about to change.

Google's social network announced today that vanity URLs for profiles and pages are on their way. It has even begun rolling out a few for celebrities, like soccer player David Beckham and pop singer Britney Spears, along with brands like Toyota, Delta, and Hugo Boss.

Here's what Google product manager Saurabh Sharma wrote in a blog post today:

Your Google+ profile is a place for you to share your passions with the millions of people who come to Google each day...Today we're introducing custom URLs to make it even easier for people to find your profile on Google+. A custom URL is a short, easy to remember web address that links directly to your profile or page on Google+.

Sharma writes that at first just a few "verified profiles and pages" will get custom URLs, but eventually they will be offered to "many more" people and brands around the world. It's not clear how Google is choosing who is "verified" and who isn't and the timeframe for the greater inclusion of vanity URLs.

This is likely welcome news for most Google+ users since memorizing long strings of numbers isn't exactly easy . For example, CNET's Google+ URL is https://plus.google.com/105198124856956810263/posts. But wouldn't https://plus.google.com/+CNET be much more manageable?

In other Google+ news, the social network also announced today that it is launching a new audio setting for hangouts called "Studio Mode," which optimizes sound specifically for music. Beforehand, hangout sound was tweaked for conversations; but now by clicking settings and switching from "Voice" to "Studio Mode," music should sound more like a live concert than a video conference.

"Since we launched Google+ a little over a year ago, we've seen a thriving community of musicians connect with fans in really cool ways," Google product manager Matthew Leske wrote in a blog post today. "In particular: singer/songwriters like +Daria Musk, bands like +Suite 709, and many others are using Hangouts On Air to perform live for global audiences, and jam with fans face-to-face."

 

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