At the moment, its only being used for Google Toolbar and Feedburner. Google just announced the new service as a sharing feature of Toolbar that will let you share a web page directly from Toolbar. The shortener is not a stand alone service and is not available for “broader consumer use.” That is, at least for now. Google assures that its shortener will be stable and secure to help protect users from clicking on malicious sites. And unsurprisingly, Google promises a speedy service for links.
Google’s foray into the URL shortening world isn’t surprising; many platforms are developing their own shorteners in house, such as Digg and Facebook.
Facebook’s new URL shortener is being used for URLs in its mobile interface. It’s unclear if Fb.me will be rolled out to the entire platform.
Of course both Facebook and Google’s venture into this space will threaten bit.ly, the most widely-used URL shortener and default service on Twitter and many Twitter clients. Up until now, bit.ly has moved quickly to become the standard shortener. But the sheer volume of short links which both Facebook and Google can produce could soon overwhelm the number of bit.ly links. It’s the data behind the links, however, which is valuable. Whoever can gather the most unified view of all shortened links will end up winning.
You’ve got to think that Google will eventually roll this out more broadly to extend its reach but it’s unclear at the moment if this will happen. (Although Google’s Matt Cutts Tweets that the restriction to Google’s own products is only “for now,” with the possibility of the service “opening up” in the future).
Hat tip to True Pic for the headline.