Its been a busy and productive year for Google.  The biggest talking point of which seems to be (at the moment) ChromeOS, however lets not forget the ever increasing popularity of Google Apps, Google Wave which is currently in beta (and been a firm favorite of mine), GoogleDNS which despite being subject to privacy questions (by some) continues to be a rather fast DNS service which is free for everyone, now Google has another product to release to the world.

Here’s introducing goo.gl a URL shortening service, much in the similar to that of TinyURL and the plethora of others we’ve covered here.  At present time its not available for general use, being only available to Google Toolbar and FeedBurner:

…we may eventually make it available for a wider audience in the future.

and I would bet that “eventually” will actually be soon. Do TinyURL et al have anything to worry about?

The goo.gl does pose a few questions, some directed at Google some more general.

The first question I would like to ask is where are all these leading?  We often speak of Microsoft and its attempts to get involved in everything you do (IMO) but without anyone paying much attention, Google is penetrating many facets of our computing life either directly or indirectly.  Let me give you an example, I use Chromium, Google apps, have a google email address, been using 8.8.4.4 GoogleDNS (as a secondary) and use Google for search.  Thats alot of Google and it appears whilst I am busy advocating alternatives, Ive become “Googlified” without even noticing.  So is this a problem?

For myself and at the present time, Id say no.  There are concerns by some over privacy, thats a topic that Ive covered before but in respect of URL shortening it asks another question, is it safest with Google?  There are some great URL shortening services, these services are provided free and whilst some will be nearly household names and others won’t, whats the risk with using a URL shortening service?  Quite a lot if the service is removed and all the links in your Tweets are then broken (for example), this also makes me wonder if goo.gl are ultimately going to charge for their service.  Also consider that the URL and stats on clicks are also going to be of great worth to Google in terms of monitoring market trends (IMO) and are we really sure we know where that will lead?

Ive often said Ive been very happy with the Google services I use, but there is a saying about not putting your eggs in one basket and I can’t help thinking that maybe we should keep that in mind.   Im not suggesting for one minute to turn our back on Google, but maybe consider (just like you would with large sums of money) that there may be a benefit in “spreading yourself around”.

That being said (and slightly worryingly), if goo.gl takes away from say TinyURL and their service stops, we could have millions of links effectively worthless.  Google is afterall almost part of our vocab and goo.gl is certainly simple to remember.

Goblin – bytes4free@googlemail.com