another Google feature or another data-collector?

Tue 15 December 2009 11:00, Editors another Google feature or another data-collector?

Google keeps on coming with new surprises and new features. At LeWeb Marissa Mayer hinted Google was done for the year, but nothing was less true than that. Yesterday Google launched their own URL shortener for the Google Toolbar and Feedburner:

With this move Google enters the world of short-urls and suddenly becomes a rival of services like With also Facebook announcing their own shortener all of a sudden the url-shorteners world has changed significantly. responded by announcing a paid custom service.

Short-urls have been around longer but got a boost because Twitter wants you to "talk"| within 140 characters. Since then the shortener services have been popping up everywhere. With Google now in the market things are changing.

Google offers the service only through their Google Toolbar and FeedBurner. They believe the url-service will benefit:

  • Stability: Google's scalable, multi-datacenter infrastructure provides great uptime and a reliable service to our users.
  • Security: As we do with web search, shortened URLs are automatically checked to detect sites that may be malicious and warn users when the short URL resolves to such sites.
  • Speed: At Google we like fast products and we've worked hard to ensure this service is quick. We'll continue to iterate and improve the speed of Google Url Shortener. has responded with announcing a pro-url shortening service. With this service is open to limited users, publishers and bloggers, and is meant to be a service which boosts user confidence. This step is pretty smart from One of the 'catches' of short-urls is that you at first don't know what url is behind it. If you get a 'trusted' short-url from a publisher you don't have that problem. On the other side the publisher will also get some advanced analytics.

The fact that Google comes with this service is more than just the reasons they tell us. In the future Google will without a doubt be using the service for other purposes. If you look at it the positive way you can think about a way to get more insights in the links published on Twitter and through apps (analytics integration). If you look at it the 'bad way' this could also mean Google is getting even more data from us than they already do.

The scenario which is probably unlikely but could come through: if Google pushes their url-shortener very much in the end all we will be using is Google urls, which will mean the 'end' of the regular url. But that's far fetched. Or is it...

  • Comments (2)
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Comments (2)


    • Barry Adams

    Yes, that's the problem isn't it? Google is rolling out so many new tools & features, and each and every one of those gathers extra data from its users that can potentially be abused.

    Now if Google had an impeccable privacy track record we wouldn't be particularly fussy. But the contrary is proving to be true - Google doesn't seem to take privacy all that seriously.

    I'm torn up about this. On the one hand I really *want* to like Google. They make awesome tools that make my life so much easier.

    But on the other hand they're turning in to Big Brother, and I can't accept that without a fight.

    Di 15 dec 2009, 11:13

  • Certainly Google is a mighty fellow, but one shouldnt state "Google wants to control us all" just because they launch quite some tools.
    They are powerful and they are for free. For sure Google could collect data with it. But any provider can do that.
    I think the thread doesnt come from (most) tools but from new powerful and almost hidden tracking methods, e.g. flash cookies.

    Di 15 dec 2009, 16:53


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