Getting a user-friendly Web address on Google Plus

Summary:You may already have a unique, user-friendly Google+ Web site, without needing to do anything. Here's how it works.

I've had several friends tell me about how wonderful it was to get a Google Plus (G+) Web address via the Gplus.to Web site. With it, I could, for example, have http:/gplus/to/sjvn instead of https://plus.google.com/113169713749496726739 (Try saying that three times fast!). That sound good, but I have several problems with it, and besides, you probably already have a human-friendly G+ Web address.

First, the good news: Your Google Profile, https://profiles.google.com/username, already has your Gmail name on it, and if you use that as your Web address, you'll find it takes visitors straight to your G+ stream page. So, for example, https://profiles.google.com/sjvn01, will bring you right to my G+ page. No fuss, no muss, and no need to do anything.

As for the Turkish profile address shortening service Gplus, it does work, but it has no connection with Google. Since it's really just another Uniform Resource Locator (URL) shortening system, like those of ShortURL or TinyURL, it should keep working even if Google changed things around on their end. But, as Ed Bott pointed out a while back, "With short URLs, you lose … data points. My original very long URL gives me all sorts of clues that allow me to set my expectations with confidence. I know it's at a domain I trust, zdnet.com, and I can even divine the title of the article. The shortened URL tells me nothing. The consequences of following a bad link can be unfortunate."

You can say that again. I'm not saying that the good people behind Gplus have anything like that in mind, but you do need to be careful with any URL shortening service.

It also concerns me that Gplus seems to be a small site. If they site were to get popular, could it handle the load? Could the site be vulnerable to a cross-site scripting (XSS) attacks? Domain Name System (DNS) attacks?

So, thanks for trying to help people out Gplus. As far as I can tell you put this site up with the best intentions in the world. But, when all is said and done, I'll just use recommend to my friends that they just go ahead and use their Google Profile addresses as the shorthand way of leading people to their G+ pages.

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Topics: Browser, Apps, Google, Social Enterprise

About

Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols, aka sjvn, has been writing about technology and the business of technology since CP/M-80 was the cutting edge, PC operating system; 300bps was a fast Internet connection; WordStar was the state of the art word processor; and we liked it.His work has been published in everything from highly technical publications... Full Bio

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