Google has just announced it’s very own URL shortener: goo.gl. Url shorteners are used to make long url names short and snappy. For example, with goo.gl we can turn this URL:
A great feature of goo.gl is it’s ability to instantly start receiving Google Analytics esk reporting. In the screenshot below you can see a shortened url, and a great amount of useful information about it. Goo.gl also gives you a QR code. Technically speaking a QR code is a two dimensional matrix barcode which can be read by QR scanners, or with some mobile phone applications usually found on the iPhone, Andriod, or Blackberry. QR Codes can be read on screen, or by taking a photo with a smartphone. Normal bar codes are one dimensional.
The URL shortener, made famous by http://tinyurl, is mainly used for social media websites like Twitter and some instant messaging services. Twitter has a maximum character limit, so the ability to tweet with a short URL becomes extremely useful. Another great use for them is in print media. An add in a magazine will usually link you to a websites homepage, so generally the website’s root domain (eg www.rootdomain.com) is the only link you’ll see.. This becomes more difficult when you want to link people to a particular article, page, or blog post, and the url starts becoming very cumbersome.
In a Magazine I’m subscribed to called Atomic, they reference urls online that I can go to to see more information on the subject and peoples comments. Now, if I had to go to my computer and type in 50 characters I would probably give it a miss, but with a URL shortener it’s just 11 characters away!