Ever since Google introduced Google+ in 2011, a big frustration for many users of the embryonic social network was letting people know where to find them.
That means a web address or URL: something you can let people know about so that it’s easy for them to find you on Google+.
Except that it wasn’t easy when your Google+ address was something like https://plus.google.com/116986422495636163350.
That happens to be my Google+ address. Hardly memorable, is it?
Now, though, it really is easy. Yesterday, Google announced the beginning of a roll-out of friendly web addresses – what some are calling ‘vanity URLs’ – to everyone in Google+.
So instead of https://plus.google.com/116986422495636163350, you’ll get something like http://google.com/+NevilleHobson.
Look out for an email from Google to let you know that a custom URL (as Google describes it) is available to you:
You’re now eligible for a unique Google+ custom URL that lets you easily point folks to your profile (no more long URLs!).
Or go straight to your Google+ profile: if you see a banner at the top saying “Your page is preapproved for the custom URL…”, you can claim it.
Custom URLs are free for now, but we may start charging a fee for them. However, we will tell you before we start charging and give you the choice to stop participating first.
Worth noting for the future especially if you plan to devote time and resourcing into developing a major presence on Google+ where the custom URL becomes a significant element in that presence.
What if you haven’t yet received a note from Google or you simply don’t want to go down Google’s route with a custom address?
You do have some other options.
You could use a free redirection service such as gplus.to which began soon after Google+ did, and proved to be very popular.
Or, follow the steps suggested by Nick Erwin involving setting up a sub-domain of your own that redirects to your G+ address. I did that and have had http://plus.nevillehobson.com which still does the job.
Whatever route you choose, you can now have a far more personal presence on Google+.
Additional reading: In an announcement on Tuesday about additional features in Google+ Hangouts and Photos, Vic Gundotra, Google’s Senior Vice President and the man in charge of Google+, had this to say about the growth of Google+:
…With 540 million people active across Google each month, 300 million people active in just the stream and more than 1.5 billion photos uploaded every week, the Google+ community is growing faster than we ever could have imagined.
Getting personal with a custom Google+ address http://t.co/Z7z0GlVrVw
Hobson: Getting personal with a custom Google+ address: Ever since Google introduced Google+ in 2011, a big fr… http://t.co/UiUK4dsAza
Getting personal with a custom Google+ address: Ever since Google introduced Google+ in 2011, a big frustratio… http://t.co/Hhk3spKvAt
Our org.´s approved url violates our branding guidelines. What do do? MT @jangles: Custom Google+ address http://t.co/V48I1u3YWt”
I had actually fixed that by pointing brunoamaral.net to my google plus profile. However, I do prefer the new alternative.
In reality, Bruno, the G+ custom URL is a redirect. But your custom address is on google.com which will appeal to many people. The alts I mentioned, plus the one you did, are among the many other choices.
Getting personal with a custom Google+ address: http://t.co/w7ST51GXpz ( via @jangles ) I’m now at http://t.co/PkCM71aWZw
Getting personal with a custom Google+ address http://t.co/Xth5tqup1D @jangles >beginning of a roll-out of ‘vanity URLs’
Custom Google+ addresses: should we get them while they’re free? @jangles explains all: http://t.co/ZrEpLeF3i9
Vanity URLs coming to Google+ (YAY!)… http://t.co/x8NR4ds8V1
Getting personal with a custom Google+ address: http://t.co/qhr8esvufC ( via @jangles) I’m now at … https://t.co/lRLCDEbzSX
RT @vanhoosear: Getting personal with a custom Google+ address: http://t.co/qhr8esvufC ( via @jangles) I’m now at … https://t.co/lRLCDEbz…
Getting personal with a custom Google+ address http://t.co/JljWVqi6pu VANITY URL’S ANYONE?