The Google URL Shortener takes long web addresses and generates a shorter version that is easier share via email, twitter or on the Web. It also generates a QR (Quick Response Code) for your web page that can be read by most smart phones and reports statistics on visitors to your site.
To use it, just go to http://goo.gl, enter the full URL and click on the Shorten URL button. The short URL will be created instantly. Note that all these short web addresses are publicly accessible. You (or anyone else) can also view the traffic to the shortened URL by adding “.info” to the end of the address.
Below is an example of a short URL (goo.gl/rLft1) generated this way for the home page of this blog (http://depts.washington.edu/triolive/wordpress/ttt/) .
A QR (Quick Response) code image is also generated along with the shortened URL. If you have a smartphone, try downloading a QR Reader and scanning the image to the right with your phone to go directly to the web page.
There are other services that produce shortened URLs, but goo.gl adds your new URLs to your Google account. Just be sure you’re logged in first. Another advantage of goo.gl is that also includes the world’s easiest web stats. Just add a”.info” to the end of the shortened URL to produce stats and graphs like the ones below. Note that this only includes visitors that reach your page via the shortened URL and not those who type out the whole address.