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Google's 'goo.gl' URL shortener open to the public

Google Toolbar users had been able to shorten long Web links with goo.gl, but now anyone can access the service through a new Web site.

Goo.gl is now open to all Web users looking for a way to make a Web link shorter.
Goo.gl is now open to all Web users looking for a way to make a Web link shorter.
Screenshot by Tom Krazit/CNET

Google's URL shortening service is now open to the world through a new Web site.

In an age of 140-character communication and mobile devices, URL shorteners are a godsend. However, the most popular third-party ones, such as Bit.ly and TinyURL, are run by smaller companies that aren't guaranteed to stick around for the long run: Google's Matt Cutts said today the company needed to develop its own "goo.gl" URL shortener "for its own products where we knew the shortener wouldn't go away."

So last December, Google started making goo.gl URLs available through the Google Toolbar, and it's now making the service available to anyone with a Web browser at goo.gl, Google announced in a blog post. "We don't intend to overload goo.gl with features, but we do want it to be the stablest, most secure, and fastest URL shortener on the Web," Googler's Muthu Muthusrinivasan said in the post.

The other Googly thing about URL shorteners is the data they generate, showing where, when, how often, and from which computers people are clicking on those URLs. Web-based analytics charts will be available to those who shorten URLs through goo.gl, and Google will also be able to track that data to help determine which Web links are popular, authoritative, or unsafe.

Twitter, where shortened URLs are an absolute necessity, also has its own URL shortener using the t.co domain.