This is an issue that I discussed last year about how Shortened URL’s can be malicious and potentially trick people into visiting sites that have malware, viruses or other potential negative content. There are Firefox plug-ins that will analyze a TinyURL link and show you the destination as you hover over it, and the same for some other types of shortened URL’s but few items work when hovering over a link in a 3rd party client app. TweetDeck does have a feature to show you the destination of short URL’s but only for a handful of URL Shrinking services.
Enter Google now who claims that every shrunken URL is analyzed upon clicking before it lets the user arrive at the destination, this way malware and other suspicious sites can be blocked or circumvented before the URL translation occurs. This has Goo.gl targeting and hoping to assure IT Security folks that their URL shortening service is the most secure one and potentially the best one that businesses can rely on to make sure their corporations are safe and users inside their corporations have an added layer of security when clicking on Goo.gl shortened URL’s.
Why I haven’t been able to test this claim of course, I do think that it is a step in the right direction and is the right way to go. With Google’s massive IT infrastructure they certainly have the hardware, software and capability to make URL shortening as secure as it can be. Though I suppose new sites take a while to be flagged as malware and you can still probably sneak a few bad links in, this could also lead to Google maybe blocking sites that shouldn’t be blocked, or delaying translation time and look up time on other such sites.
Imagine if you opened a Goo.gl shortened link to a Microsoft site, and Goo.gl had that URL translate slower, causing a worse page load time? Hey anything is possible with giant companies at war for the search engine market, and now apparently the URL Shrinking market.
I still haven’t found out yet if Goo.gl shortened URL’s are 301 or 302 redirects to your website, I hope to find this out soon.