July 18, 2011, 5:16 PM

Google offers a shorter web address to direct consumers to its services and products

The search engine’s g.co joins other shortened URLs from retailers and organizations.

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Google Inc. today said it had created an online shortcut for consumers eager to find Google products and services such as Gmail and stored photos. The search engine says it will direct consumers who type in g.co to web sites owned by Google.

“The shorter a URL, the easier it is to share and remember,” writes Gary Briggs, Google’s vice president of consumer  marketing, in a blog posting today. “The downside is, you often can’t tell what web site you’re going to be redirected to. We’ll only use g.co to send you to web pages that are owned by Google, and only we can create g.co shortcuts. That means you can visit a g.co shortcut confident you will always end up at a page for a Google product or service.”

The new URL didn’t link to any specific products or services as of 4:30 p.m. Central time Monday, and Google gave no indication of when it would roll out the web address. Google said the new URL is not to be confused with its URL-shortening tool located at goo.gl. Google also did not say how much it paid for the new URL.

Retailers and web services previously used shortened versions of their names as part of rebranding efforts and to make sure time-starved consumers find their way to particular companies. Overstock.com, for instance, last year began using the domain O.co, directing consumers who type in O.co to the web-only retailer’s e-commerce site, Overstock.com. Overstock is No. 27 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide. And social networking site Twitter, for instance, has bought T.co.

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