It emerged yesterday that Google now has its own URL-shortening service:

For now, works only with Google applications, where it shortens URLs for Google's Feedburner and from the Google browser toolbar. The service cannot be accessed directly by users from a browser.

Entering the address calls up the following: "Google URL Shortener at is a service that takes long URLs and squeezes them into fewer characters to make a link that is easier to share, tweet, or email to friends."

There is no public user interface - all we see is a web page that also states the simple goals for the service:

"Stability, ensuring that the service has very good uptime; security, protecting users from malware and phishing pages; and speed, fast resolution of short URLs."

See also: Google: killing the internet?

The Google Official Blog post that announced the service Monday afternoon offers a tad more detail

"People share a lot of links online," wrote Googlers Muthu Muthusrinivasan, Ben D'Angelo, and Devin Mullins.

"This is particularly true as microblogging services such as Twitter have grown in popularity.

"If you're not familiar with them, URL shorteners basically squeeze a long URL into fewer characters to make it easier to share with others. With character limits in tweets, status updates and other modes of short form publishing, a shorter URL leaves more room to say what's on your mind - and that's why people use them."

The Google URL Shortener immediately competes with services including TinyURL,, and a host of others. Each generates a unique shortened URL.

When the user clicks on the shortened URL, the shortening server must resolve the URL, match it to the original and longer URL, and then redirect the browser to that site.

Although the existing shortening services are popular and stable, letting Google handle URL shortening for some of its customers' needs probably makes sense.

(Google recently got into the public DNS business as well, another necessary internet service).

So, while the world doesn't need a new URL shortener, we may someday be happy Google started offering one as the need for such services continues to grow. If nothing else, the URLs will be a constant reminder of the company gives us goodies.

GL is the country code top-level domain (ccTLD) for Greenland, (The .ly in is the ccTLD for Libya).

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