Matthew Inman is a name that is pretty well known by anyone who browses the web a lot. If not, his comic series, entitled The Oatmeal, has got to ring a bell. Anyway, the reason for bringing up this illustrator’s name is that he was the first to experience the changes that are taking place with Google+ right now. In April, Inman wrote about his opinion of G+ on his page on the network.
On my profile, I’ve got a lot of followers so the discussions are bustling, but when I was researching this comic I went through a bunch of my friends’ profiles and look at the discussions, and they seemed pretty empty (other than the occasional spammer).
Even if it is true, Google+ is still a very young social network. Give it another 6 months to a year and maybe it’ll begin to really chip away at Facebook.
Also, the new design is pretty bitchin, although I still wish I could set up a fancy profile URL so I don’t have to link people to http://plus.google.com/blergasdf1234thimbleturdorgasm99meatpoopypoopxv9donkeypie when I want them to follow me”
According to what he has written, he was quite impressed when he first started using the network, but he had a problem with the way the URLs functioned while linking people to pages. Well, it seems that Google has listened, because Inman recently found that his joke link actually started leading people to his page.
So, after hearing of Matthew’s story, I looked into it and found on the Google+ blog that Google has begun making the option of custom URLs available to its users. As of now, the feature is limited to a few brands and celebrities, such as Hugh Jackman, Toyota, and of course, The Oatmeal. Based on what Saurabh Sharma writes in the blog, the feature will soon be more available.
Custom URLs will also be available to people and pages worldwide, so brands like Globo can point readers to google.com/+epoca, or any of their other Brazilian publications.
A shorter URL is simply more appealing to anyone that a brand is trying to target, making it easier for them to understand exactly where it will take them before even clicking it. A giant link will become confusing to users and there is a good chance they will just scroll on past it. These short URLs will create a cleaner appearance, potentially bringing more traffic to brands’ G+ pages.
This new feature will help brands in their attempts to drive traffic, but G+ will benefit from the feature in that they are one of the only networks to offer it. A custom URL can be helpful, so people who want one may have to go to G+ to get it, bringing up the traffic to the network itself. Google+ has done a smart thing with these custom URLs, and they will soon be available to anybody who uses the network for personal or business reasons.