Monday, May 23, 2011

Google URL Shortener

I was energized to attend the Ohio Google Apps Conference at the Hyatt Regency in downtown Columbus on May 9th. There was an abundance of great sessions and an enthusiastic crowd of educators in attendance (registration was capped at 750). A technology friendly conference, every session - and corresponding room sign - had a QR code that led users to a web page with presenter information, handouts, and links. One frequently used tool in session handouts was Google's URL shortener, Goo.gl. I have used Bitly on occasion, shortening and creating single URLs for link groups, but wondered what Google may have to offer in comparison.

It's possible to create the shortened URL without a Google account, but with sign-in user statistics are generated and displayed. The first thing I noticed using Goo.gl? It creates a QR code along with the finished shortened URL. The QR code is small, conveniently located on the page, and easy to save as a png or bitmap file; having both available means I do not have to save the QR code image and URL separately for later use. However, there is an image clarity consequence for that convenience.



Creating slides in PowerPoint for the library's digital sign, I used the QR code generated by Goo.gl to feature more colorful QR codes for the library web site, IRC web site, and LibGuides. However, the image (QR code) became significantly pixilated and blurred when adjusted, regardless of if method used - copy and paste or save and insert - for placement in the PowerPoint slide. To get the results needed, I used the shortened Goo.gl shortened URL in conjunction with the Kaywa code generator (options for a small, medium, large or extra-large QR code) to create what I needed. For display purposes, the slide is saved as a .jpeg for compatibility with the signage system. It's necessary for the image to be clear on the original slide; it will be enlarged significantly on the flat screen.



I like the convenience of Goo.gl as a URL shortener, but will stick with the Kawya Code Generator when I need to create a QR code for publications and the web.

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