UX Magazine

Defining and Informing the Complex Field of User Experience (UX)
Article No. 452 July 8, 2011

Google makes URLs Goo.gl

Google announced that they're officially moving into the realm of "URL shortening services," but not for the public. Their fancy new short URL, Goo.gl will be available—at least for the time being—only through their products, like the Google toolbar and FeedBurner.

I'm realy curious to see how the rest of the URL shortening services will react if Goo.gl goes public.

PS: I know for sure that ours (uxm.ag) will be safe, since it will always be private ;)

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Constantinos is employed as a Creative Director for Tribal DDB Athens. In his ever dwindling spare time he works on the development of UX Magazine and Joblet. You can find out more about him here of follow him on twitter.

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Comments

15
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Does url shorteners have another use than Twitter?

Maybe not but Twitter is imo the biggest reason why those services exists, I think it is our responsability as User experiences professionals to publish some articles on the problem recommending that URLs displayed in Twitter should no longer be part of the 140 chars allowed but be considered as a tweet attachement.

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You are absolutely right. I use bit.ly URLs for Twitter and Facebook, but so far, no where else. I suppose you could use bit.ly for their link tracking...but I don't, so who else gets any use out of it?

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URL shortening services are destroying the web. Reading an URL should answer the user question "where am I going if I click on this?". URLs should be meaningful as recommended by Google SEO.
This is a basic user experience need.

I understand the need for statistics but this is a distinct service.

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I agree with Thierry. This goes back to the same annoying problem of needing to remember all those Unix commands and their syntax. This is not even close to what users will enjoy. They want simple, easy to remember URLs that tell them where they go. Not only for internet-savvy people, but we are making this tough for our parents who are innocently using the internet to their best way possible.

I am already seeing how people would HATE this change, unless the browsers support the usual way and change it internally to however short a length it needs while sending the response to the server.

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@Thierry: I couldn't agree with you more, but the need for short URLs is there, and with services like twitter, they do have meaning.

I myself use short urls by force of habit. As UX Magazine I created the short url service to help shorten our tweets.

So, to say that a service like these are bad, is fair, but we can't just dennounce them as a whole. They do have their place on the web.

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Their strength point would be using it automatically to URLs entered via Gmail/Gtalk/Wave..etc. Other than that, URL shortening services are almost the same, with two differenciative factors:
1-durability: we don't want our tiny URLs to be broken when service disappear (like when it was going to happen to http://tr.im).
2-Being short (apparently): http://j.mp is much better than http://tinyurl.com because it's owned by "bit.ly" which looks like it will hang around for a while (durable), and it's much shorter (11 spaces against 18 spaces)