By Max Clarke

The ever creative Google have today announced a series of updates and new features for its goo.gl URL shortening service.

Though URL shorteners have existed since TinyURL debuted in 2002, it was not until microblogging site Twitter became popular that URL shorteners gained widespread usage. Since then, popular URL shorteners bit.ly amassed 2.1 billion clicks in a single month.

Then in September last year the Mountain View headquartered search giants launched their own version, goo.gl. While some praised the simplicity of Google’s efforts, others criticised the service for its lack of features including analytics and customisation.

Google have also apparently attempted to undercut its rivals; TinyURL's shortened versions can be around 26 characters, bit.ly typically weigh in at 20, while goo.gl's are 19 characters: welcome news for letter constrained Twitter fans.

New features announced today; including spam filtering, automatic clipboards, improvements to stability and speed and an interactive dashboard with link statistics; will see the once overlooked service competing with industry leaders bit.ly and TinyURL.

George Wong, tech blogger from ubergizmo.com discusses the pros of the renewed product:

Google’s URL shortener, goo.gl has just been updated with some new features to make life easier. Folks who are constantly tweeting will be glad for these new features. When a URL is shortened, the new shortened address is automatically highlighted so users can easily copy it by just pressing CTRL+C or CMD+C on their keyboard. The link dashboard can now be cleaned up — if there’s a URL which you don’t want to use anymore, you can easily remove it from your dashboard (note: the link will still work, you just won’t see it anymore). Google has also set up goo.gl/spam-report for folks to report goo.gl URLs that send them to spam sites.