Shortening URLs via goo.gl

Some of the link URLs generated by Google Drive can be very long and complicated.

Click image to enlarge

Click image to enlarge

In some situations this is acceptable, but in others – for instance, when you need to quote the URL to somebody else in a written message, say, or make it part of a tweet that has 140 characters limit – it can be troublesome.

This is where Google’s URL shortener can help.

Navigate to http://goo.gl and you’ll be presented with an interface where you can add the URL to be shortened:

Click image to enlarge

Click image to enlarge

After pressing the blue Shorten URL button, you’ll be presented with a new address which is much shorter. The URLs you’ve shortened are listed in the table. Click on Details for any URL in the list to see (provided you’re logged in with your Google account) a page of statistics about traffic for that link:

Click image to enlarge

Click image to enlarge

You’ll also note that goo.gl has generated a QR code for the URL; click on this image to open it at full size in another tab/window. You can download this image and use it in your web pages and printed documents, so that anyone with a QR reader in their smartphone, tablet or other device can navigate to your page without typing anything at all.

There is a Chrome extension called goo.gl URL Shortener that uses the same service, however the extension requires that you are currently visiting the URL in question in order to get the shortened version, which sometimes may not be convenient.