Custom URLs were only available to verified accounts owned by celebrities and brands now regular users can now claim their own custom URL for public use.
Google lags behind its competitors in the social networking space, namely Facebook and Twitter in terms of popularity and engagement. However, what it lacks in popularity it makes up for in terms of integration with Google services, such as Gmail and Google Search. Still, its core social networking service is not as customizable as the likes of Facebook. Even profile URLs came in long numeric form — hardly easy for anyone to memorize or share.
This has actually given rise to services like gplus.to, which is basically a redirect service to one’s Google Plus account. Google has rolled out custom or vanity URLs for celebrities and brands as of 2012, which made it easier to launch promos and share updates through Google+. Ordinary users were promised a similar update, and it seems Google+ has now opened this functionality to the public.
Custom URLs are not for everyone, however. According to the Google+ getting started guide for custom URLs, accounts need to be at least 30 days old, have a profile picture and have 10 or more followers, among others. Also, for regular users, custom URLs are actually pre-approved, and not chosen arbitrarily, which reduces one’s choices for a Google+ URL. What Google does allow is the changing of URL’s style, such as capitalizations and accents. For example, google.com/+VRZone can also be styled as google.com/+vrzone, which is what this publication uses.
Google warns that once a user has claimed his or her custom URL, it cannot be changed. This is similar to Facebook’s own policy disallowing changes to custom URLs for both personal profiles and pages.
Now that custom URLs will make Google+ profiles easier to access and remember, will it also improve the social network’s usage and engagement numbers?