Google announced yesterday that they’ve entered the URL shortening marketplace with a solution called Goo.gl (see Mashable’s coverage: source). The new service is going to be bundled with the Google Toolbar and Feedburner. Goo.gl is intended to compete with URL shortener bit.ly which has seen explosive growth in the last 9 months (according to Google Trends):
Not all URL shortener services have followed the same growth pattern. It is clear from the above that tinyURL.com has hit a plateau. It seems that Bit.ly has done well because their service has been integrated into multiple applications (eg: see NYTimes iPhone app and Feedly).
This service is a good strategic move for Google since URL shorteners are playing a larger role in extending the reach of digital content. As social media sites grow and smartphones adoption increases, users will become more reliant on these solutions.
I just think that the news release comes at an odd time because Bit.ly announces their new Bit.ly Pro service on the same day (thanks to @NickJAyers for the tip). The new service allows bloggers to offer their users a custom branded, URL shortening solution (note: the solution is built on top of the bit.ly platform). As part of the announcement, Bit.ly publicized the fact that several well known Web publishers and bloggers have signed up to use this service. Additionally, the new solution includes a more robust visualization engine for the analytics data (which now better competes with Google Analytics).
The launch of Goo.gl feels a bit like a disorganized, knee-jerk reaction to Bit.ly’s news — maybe even an attempt to take the wind out of Bit.ly’s sails. I say that because the release lacked any substantial marketing materials or formal developer documentation, which Google bundles as part of a new product launch (hey Google — where’s my YouTube video? I got one with Google Goggles). One can understand that Google now sees Bit.ly as a real threat because Bit.ly Pro further extends the amount of data the Bit.ly will collect about user behavior and that’s Google’s home turf. Clearly, the gloves are off in the fight to dominate the URL shortening marketplace.
NOTE: For some odd reason, I can easily type the word Bit.ly but Goo.gl doesn’t roll out the same way. Whenever I type this, I end up with Goog.l which is incorrect. I’m wondering if anyone else is having this problem or if it is just me?