The Google URL shortener was originally launched back in December as a tool primarily for use by Google itself. Well, today Google announced in their blog that the tool has been launched and made available to everyone!

You do not need a Google account to use That said, if you want to know the analytics and history of your shortened URL, you will need to log into Google account to hang onto that statistical data.

Statistics for your shortened URL will include Referrer data, country, browser, and the platform, as well as the total traffic pointed to the URL via shortened URLs.

It’s funny that Google would launch this shortener with one of their goals being to “have a shortener that we knew would do things the right way”. It uses 301 redirects which is fantastic, but I am surprised it is lacking some of the seemingly basic functionality that rival has, such as the ability to customize the shortened URL’s. Perhaps this is something that will be added in the future – although Google notes that they do not plan on “piling on a ton of features”.

One feature they do have is Spam protection. Google claims that you will be protected from malware, phishing and Spam:

You also know that when you click a shortened URL, you’re protected against malware, phishing and spam using the same industry-leading technology we use in search and other products.

I am sure Google will do a great job ensuring that shortened URL’s are safe to click on, but as is the case with their search results, there are the little gremlins that find their way through, so best to still use some common sense and not assume Google will protect you 100%.