Online search giant Google has announced that goo.gl, a URL shortening service, is being shut down beginning April 13 for new users. Existing users will however have one more year before the service is shuttered. The service was introduced in 2009 and during that time other similar services have cropped up and grown in popularity. Users who are interested in creating new short links will now have the option of using Firebase Dynamic Links besides other URL shorteners.
Shuttering the service will allow Google to focus on Firebase Dynamic Links, a service that lets users redirect to particular locations depending on suitability. According to Google compared to standard links Firebase Dynamic Links were better suited to surviving app installation and thus making it easier to find the required content. Firebase Dynamic Links also offer enhanced security. Two years ago reports emerged that shortened URLs possessed more security vulnerabilities compared to standard links.
This comes in the wake of an analyst at Bank of America indicating that Waymo, the autonomous car unit of Alphabet (Google’s parent), could now be valued as much as the biggest car manufacturers in the world. According to Justin Post, the analyst at Bank of America, the biggest indication that the growth of Waymo was accelerating were the new partnerships the driverless car company had formed with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and Jaguar Land Rover. Waymo has also formed partnerships with AutoNation, Intel and Lyft.
Last year in November Waymo made history by becoming the first firm to start operating vehicles that were completely autonomous on public roads. These cars in the firm’s Early Rider program didn’t have human back drivers sitting at the front ready to take over in case the driverless technology failed. Per Post the driverless cars of Waymo have now covered over four million miles on public roads.
“With the Early Rider test now underway in Phoenix, a pick-up in recent partnerships and supplier agreements, and Level 4 autonomous driving achieved in 10/17, momentum appears to be gaining steam with Waymo,” said Post.
According to Post, though it was difficult to determine the true earnings potential of Waymo, a sum-of-the-parts analysts that was based on a tech licensing and ride-sharing model gave the Alphabet unit a valuation of $41 billion. Going by Post’s estimate Waymo is almost valued as much as the Dearborn, Michigan-based Ford which boasts of $43 billion in market capitalization.