The world's leading search engine is rolling out goo.gl as a URL shortener site, though it's only available within the sharing features of Google Toolbar and FeedBurner at the moment. Go to the goo.gl website itself, and you won't be able to kick the tires.
The success of Twitter has spawned the need for shorter website addresses. When you have only 140 characters to make a point and provide a link, long links are a Twitter no-no.
When Twitter launched, TinyUrl.com was the shortener of choice. It's now the even shorter bit.ly that Twitter feasts on, as it ups the ante with tracking tools and referral counts.
The big boys are moving in. Google now has goo.gl. Faceboook has fb.me. It's probably just a matter of time before Yahoo!
Then again, goo.gl could flop. Like Yahoo!, Google has a nasty habit of shuttering products that don't gain traction quickly. If users avoid goo.gl, watch out.
There also has to be some degree of apprehension about Google's master plan. It's hard to monetize a URL shortener. Folks are immediately whisked to their destination, so the only real marketing moment comes from reaching out to those creating the short Web-page links. In a greedy world, Google can always throw in a page of advertising before serving up the shortened link. It can also frame results in a page with its ads on top. But it's a safe bet that taking a greedy approach to monetizing goo.gl would kill its potential for popularity.
You also have to wonder why such a rich company is rolling out its own site. Google has $22 billion in the bank. Wouldn't it be easier to just buy bit.ly? Launching goo.gl may very well inspire Microsoft or Apple
In short, why not take the shortcut to shortening?
What do you think of goo.gl? Will it fail or succeed? Share your thoughts in the comment box below.
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Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz doesn't have a recipe for shortening bread. He owns no shares in any of the stocks in this story and is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. The Fool has a disclosure policy.