Have you ever had a situation where you needed to get people (parents, students, coworkers, etc.) to your website, but the URL was too long for them to get verbally or copy from your screen, and it wasn't possible or convenient to email the link to all of them? Maybe a Google Form, or a Google Sites webpage? Well, Google has a solution for this very thing. It's called the Google URL Shortener and you can find it by typing goo.gl into the address bar of your browser.
Simply paste your long URL into the shortener and hit the blue "Shorten URL" button. Ta da! You get a short URL. It will be http://goo.gl/ and then an alphanumeric code of 6ish characters. It is case sensitive, so watch for the capitals. It even gives you a QR code for the website. As long as you are logged into your Google account when you use the shortener, Goo.gl will keep a record of all the short URLs you have created and even gives you stats about who has been visiting your site. Very handy!
I recently created a Google Sites page for my third graders and had our IT staff set it as the homepage for all of them. This week some of my students had their homepage settings revert to a previous site. The link for the new site is too long for my third graders to type in easily, so until IT gets the problem solved, I gave the kids the short URL I made using goo.gl. I printed it in a large font on a piece of paper and pinned it up near my whiteboard in the front of the room. The kids easily typed it in and accessed the homepage I created for them. This was so much easier than yesterday when they each brought me their Chromebooks and I had to type in the long URL for all of them. Phew! Thanks again, Google!
**UPDATE** - There is now a goo.gl URL Shortener extension in the Chrome Web Store! Shorten those URLs without even visiting the goo.gl website.
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