Whatever happened to …

… Google’s URL Shortener?

Thanks go out to Peter Beens for this idea.  He sent me a Twitter message

.@dougpete, you’ll like this for your Whatever Happened To series…
The Google Cemetery https://t.co/DzDUwPnwfl— Peter Beens (@pbeens) December 6, 2018

How could I not want to check that out?  Peter is my personal (and should be yours) Google Guru.  After all, he wrote the book (or at least a pretty darn good web resource) Google A-Z.  I’ve referred to it a number of times on this blog like here.  It should be noted that Google has a love/hate relationship with the document!

The Google Cemetery is actually pretty big.  I had to make a choice of what to write about; Google Reader has already been done and I’ve used and miss many of the services. 

So, goo.gl.  What is it?  It’s one of a number of URL shorteners.  So, rather than having a long URL to share with someone, you use the shortener to make your long one a short one.  Here’s how it works.

There are a number of shorteners that are available in addition to Google’s.  In fact, this list shows 230 of them.  And no, I didn’t check them all.  Some should be familiar – bit.ly, tinyurl, ow.ly, …

And, for the programmers among us, it’s also possible to write your own shorteners.  There are plenty of resources available to help you out.

They’re arguably needed in these days of living in the cloud and the long, long, non-nonsensical URLs that are so common these days.  The negative part is that it’s not easily possible to know where clicking the short link will take you.  There are extensions to your browser that will reveal the original link for the cautiously paranoid.

I think that many of us used Google’s service.  I bounced between it and bit.ly.  Typically, I used Google’s when I was shortening something that was actually pointing somewhere in Google.  Plus, it was the default at times.  But, it’s going away … existing short URLs are supposed to continue but you can’t create any more.

For a Sunday, your thoughts please..

  • have you ever used Google’s URL shortener?
  • have you or do you use another service?
  • if you’re a Google user, what will you use now?
  • when someone sends you a link that has been shortened, are you wary?
  • please don’t confess to being old-school and that you type out those great big, long URLs
  • have you ever used Peter’s Google A-Z document?  (It’s Saturday morning as I type this and the love/hate relationship is currently set to hate!)
  • is a URL shortener more or less reliable to you than just clicking a work that contains a link like I’ve done in this post

Please take a few moments and share your thoughts in the comments below.  They can be as long as you want.

This is part of a regular Sunday series of memories.  You can check them all out here in case you missed one or two.  And, if you have an idea for a future post, be like Peter, and let me know.

This blog post was originally posted at:

If you find it anywhere else, it’s not original.

Shrinking URLs on iOS

One of the most read entries on this blog happened in August of this year.  I had written a post called “A Fresh Start” and it dealt with the real advantage of a new school year and how it lets teachers re-invent themselves every year with the coming of a new class.  The link to this posting is at: https://dougpete.wordpress.com/2010/08/29/a-fresh-start/.

Like most blog postings, the URL is a little daunting and requires some careful typing, or copy/pasting or access by a link or QR code or something.  In a Twitter message, the content would take up a whack of the 140 characters available!   Typically, if I was to find a link like that and retweet it, I would use a URL shortener to take the long URL and make it considerably shorter.  There are lots of shorteners available for your use, free of charge – my preference is bit.ly because you can create an account on bit.ly and get some really interesting analytics if you’re so inclined.

In the traditional computer world, it’s a pretty easy process with the appropriate plugin to your browser and certainly Seesmic Desktop does a nice job of shrinking URLs.  But, what happens when you’re using an iOS device?

To the rescue, comes a sweet little application called shrinkURL.  It’s sole purpose is to take a big URL like my blog post example above and run it through a URL shortener to give you a small one for easy sharing.  It supports bit.ly, j.mp, and TinyURL.  Just select the one that you’re going to use.


That’s all that you really need to do to get started.  If you have a bit.ly account, you do have the option of entering a Username and API key.  Using it couldn’t be easier.

In Mobile Safari or whatever browser you’re using, just highlight and copy the URL to be shortened.  Open the shrinkURL application and the contents of the clipboard are automatically sent to the shortening service and you’re presented with the shorter link for sharing.  The whole process requires little user interaction once it’s configured.


Take the results and share them.  shrinkURL also has a handy history feature so that you can keep track of the URLs that you’re shortening using the application.  What could be easier?