A few weeks ago, the Google+ team punked The Oatmeal by redirecting its Google+ profile URL to a slightly more interesting (and profanity-laden) URL. That, it turns out, what just a test for today’s wider rollout of vanity URLs for a subset of verified business pages and profiles on Google+. Google has already enabled this feature for a number of big brands and celebrities like Toyota, Delta Airlines and Britney Spears, but don’t get too excited yet: it’s not clear when Google plans to roll out custom URLs to all of its users.
This new feature, says Google, will be available worldwide, but it’s unclear how Google plans to choose the first batch of users who will get first dibs to pick their custom URL. In its announcement, Google only notes that it is introducing this feature for “a limited number of verified profiles and pages” and that this is just a “first step.”
Vanity URLs have long been among the most requested features of Google+’s most dedicated users. The standard Google + profile and page URLs don’t exactly lend themselves to memorization, after all, and businesses aren’t likely to use these ugly URLs in their marketing materials (you can currently find TechCrunch’s updates at https://plus.google.com/103037366582313115962/posts, for example).
When Facebook launched its vanity URLs back in 2009, it created somewhat of a land rush as its users hustled to get their URL of choice. Facebook, too, first allowed a few select brands and celebrities to claim their custom URLs a few months ahead of its other users.