Google URL shortener/QR code service goes public by Seth Weintraub @FortuneMagazine October 1, 2010, 5:31 PM EDT E-mail Tweet Facebook Google Plus Linkedin Share icons The process of distributing URLs over Twitter and by smartphone just got easier … URL shorteners have been all the rage since Twitter hit the scene a few years ago. Companies like Bit.ly and TinyURL have been able to offer customers expanding services beyond just URL Shortening/forwarding. Customers now want more features including analytics. That’s where Google comes in with its Goo.gl. Google has been using a URL shortener in its Toolbar and Feedburner service for months and recently added it to News, Blogger, Maps, Picasa Web Albums, and Moderator products. This helps when sending a link via Twitter or SMS where space is limited. It helps with e-mails where long URLs span a line and break the link functionality. But Google adds some additional perks. For one, Google is a huge company that isn’t going anywhere soon. You know your URL forwards are safe for the foreseeable future at least. Other, smaller URL shorteners haven’t fared so well. Google is also fast, reliable, secure and recognized by DNS servers. And Google has some analytics. Here’s a view of the analytics page: You’ll notice that there is a QR code at the top right of the page. Googler Matt Cutts also tweeted that you could also add QR codes to the URLs. Secret goo.gl easter egg: take a link like http://goo.gl/LFwS and add “.qr” to get a QR code! See http://goo.gl/LFwS.qr I’m not a huge proponent of QR codes (kind of a hassle to bring up the barcode scanner app on my phone) but it definitely has advantages over entering long URLs into a phone browser. Now the alternative to QR is much shorter.