Google+ sucks up to more big shots with vanity URLs

Google rolls out thousands of custom URLs to boost social network service

Google this week is greatly expanding availability of custom URLs for users of its Google+ social networking site, a move designed to make it easier for people and companies to promote their presence.

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Google+ users ranging from a disc golf outfit to Google employees to Dell CEO and Google Hangouts fan Michael Dell are among early vanity URL recipients. Google CEO Larry Page, an infrequent Google+ poster, had not been converted to a custom URL as of mid-afternoon Thursday. 

Google said in June that it hosts 250 million-plus Google+ accounts, with 150 million monthly active users, a far cry from Facebook's more than 900 million active monthly users.

Currently, most Google+ URLs are random number strings that are hard to search for and remember. Google+ users whose verified accounts have been chosen for the special URLs are being notified via their profile pages and email.

One catch to the customer URLs, however, according to website Mashable, is that Google says in the fine print that it might start charging for them some day.

Another catch is that Google will tell you what your custom URL is, though you'll have the opportunity to tweak it through an appeals process.

Google's Saurabh Sharma -- who has a custom URL himself now -- wrote on Google+ today that "we'll be offering custom URLs to many more profiles and pages in the future."

#Vanityurl has been trending high on Google+ all day, alongside #tigerwoods and #rogerfederer, with users of the social network site celebrating and bemoaning their status, as the case may be.

Some Google+ users were also reporting that their existing Google Profile custom URLs are still working, so are wondering what might happen to them as the Google+ customer URLs roll out.

(While I was an early adopter of Google+, I haven't cracked vanity status in Google's eyes yet. I'll live.)

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