Google may be the most dominant search engine in many parts of the world, but that doesn't mean that it doesn't have its work cut out for it in meeting future challenges.

One of those challenges: tapping into all the links that are being shared on services like Facebook and Twitter. After all, the links sharing that takes place on these services represents a potentially valuable 'signal' that Google can factor into its algorithm.

That's the real reason, for instance, why Google's Marissa Mayer is disappointed about all that content Facebook has "locked in": Google can't easily spider it, put context around it and build a stronger search experience with it.

So what can Google do? With Twitter, it inked a data deal giving it access to Twitter's firehose. But realistically it needs more than that. So it's now pushing URL shortener,, a bit harder. The obvious goal: build a stronger presence in the URL shortening market, which has largely been built on the back of growing amount of content sharing taking place on Twitter and Facebook., of course, isn't new. It was launched nearly a year ago but Google never really put it in position to compete with other URL shorteners like Instead, it integrated into other Google products. Yesterday, however, Google launched a real website for, where anyone with a link can now shorten it to a very Googley URL.

Feature-wise, is a lot like other URL shorteners. There are analytics features, and Google has an API for developers. If you have a Google account, Google will keep track of all the links you've shortened for easy access to analytics data. In short (no pun intended), looks a lot like, which apparently hasn't gone unnoticed by CEO John Borthwick. But does have one advantage over its smaller but better established competitor: it may be more reliable. As we previously covered, web monitoring company WatchMouse saw 100% uptime for when it conducted a study of URL shortening services.

But will that be enough? Probably not. Twitter and Facebook still have direct access to links shared by their users, and established players like have branding. As such, Google will its work cut out for it if it hopes to make a go-to URL shortener.

Patricio Robles

Published 1 October, 2010 by Patricio Robles

Patricio Robles is a tech reporter at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter.

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Comments (8)

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Im a bitly pro user and i love the service they offer, the fact you can use custom domains with a free account is really good and makes you feel part of the site / experience.

Google is not going to give a service like that. I think to suggest Google is better than Bitly because when it was monitored it it was 100% uptime is a little harsh, i would expect to be handling a lot more links

almost 8 years ago


Focused Idea - San Antonio website design

Out of curiosity I checked out It really seems very basic. Which isn't a bad thing. What I don't like, however, is that there isn't an option to customize your links. I'm sure they'll address that issue soon enough.

Once again, thank you for the posting.

almost 8 years ago



Lots of added hype around the:


Feature to generate a QR Tag off the shortened

And, wow, apped with:


And you access analytics for the QR. 

Only problem?  Everyone else can access your analytics as well.  OK, there are other problems, but, really, do I want everyone knowing how many scans my QR tags have had? Or, where they've been from?

almost 8 years ago

John Courtney

John Courtney, CEO and Executive Chairman at Pay on Results SEO, Content Marketing, Social Media, Digital PR, PPC & CRO from Strategy Digital

If you have a Google account, Google will keep track of all the links you've shortened for easy access to analytics data

Analytics is a feature that could differentiate Google in this marketplace.

almost 8 years ago


Ben Acheson

I think it can be assumed that links have enormous potential value for SEO and internet marketing. If you can compell a large number of people to organically syndicate your URL via on social networks then that could have much greater benefits than using other URL shortners for Google SEO. (Is there any other kind of SEO?) 

almost 8 years ago

Kay Keenan

Kay Keenan, CMO at in transition

So what, if I can't control the name of the short url it isn't that helpful from a marketing perspective. If I could change the R2fx to something memorable this might be big news. Tiny url allows this feature and if Google wants to be competitive they need to get beyond the simple solution.

almost 8 years ago

Brett Relander

Brett Relander, Founder & President at Tactical Marketing Labs

It was only a matter of time, but the question is: Will it perform better, provide better analytics, or integrate with other tools to entice people to switch from their current shortener? Doesn't appear so at this point. Brett Relander

almost 8 years ago



Another fish in the river but this one has weight and backing to take over from many URL Shortening services. However bitly is well established and may be difficult to take down. Another jump for data from Google I assume.

'what do they do with all that stuff'?

over 7 years ago

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