Following on from my earlier post, I left an important element of Google’ social strategy out deliberately, as it deserves a full post dedicated to it.
Google’s URL shortener – Goo.gl
Prediction number 1. Goo.gl will play a massive part in Google’s social strategy.
Whilst something as mundane as a URL shortener may seem on the surface like Google just dropping their hat in the ring, it has much more far reaching implications. It is well known that as far as Google are concerned, URL’s are absolutely centric to their algorithm, and with the sharing of short links across social platforms, short URL’s put a spanner in the works for a couple of reasons.
1) Many URL shortener’s don’t send the correct HTTP status code, confusing Googlebot. See Danny Sullivan’s roundup of who sends what.
2) It’s hard to place value on the redirected content, when you find multiple instances of a short URL across the web. Google have already stated that 301 redirects pass slightly less juice, and in the world of social media and ranking of content, that shouldn’t be the case. Google is now caught in a quandry, how do you determine social context for a short URL and pass appropriate weight to it?
Controlling the URL’s which are shared makes complete sense for Google, as they can obtain the metrics they need to not only help their algorithm, but also collect data to use as a sales tool in the impending release of Google +1. We’ve already seen Facebook social adverts giving deep insight into engagement etc. and Goo.gl is likely to be the platform on which those sorts of metrics are gleamed.
The below screenshot of what they are potentially going to release has a share button which undoubtedly will integrate Goo.gl as the URL which gets shared.
Prediction number 2? Goo.gl integrates its URL shortener into Google Analytics.
So, adoption of Google’s URL shortener hasn’t been huge, in comparison with say bit.ly. The integration of it into Google Analytics would encourage its use on social platforms such as Twitter and Facebook, giving them all the data they need to not only leverage their own social product, but gleam data from other more closed systems – i.e. Facebook. I wouldn’t be surprised to see other shortener services slowly getting squeezed out of the marketplace.
Prediction number 3? Goo.gl gets integrated Natively into Chrome
Google Chrome already has a browser extension to use Goo.gl, and it wouldn’t be a million miles beyond reason to expect to see it making its way natively into Chrome. With the browser market share of Chrome increasing all the time, the adoption of Goo.gl as marketers URL shortener of choice would only be a mouse click away.
What do you think? Will Goo.gl be a central part of Google’s next move into social? Let me know in the comments.
Update. Google have launched some improvements to this service today.