I recently wrote a blog post on simplifying your QR Codes for easier scanning using Google’s URL shortening service. Now Google have opened up their service and you can create shortened URLs without the use of a browser extension or bookmarklet.

To create a shortened URL just go to Goo.gl and copy and paste in your URL to be shortened and hit Shorten. That’s it!

If you’ve got a google account it’s worth signing in before you use the service. That way you can keep track of all your shortened goo.gl URLs.

A Couple of Tips

Clicking on the Details link in your stats page will give you some stats on your shortened URL like number of clicks on the URL and it will also give you an image of the QR Code for the shortened URL.

You don’t need to be logged in to your Google account to do this and you can get stats on ANY goo.gl shortened URL by typing either typing a plus sign (+) after the URL or typing .info. So, for example goo.gl/VZ22+ or goo.gl/VZ22.info will take you to the stats page for the JISC RSC LearnTech Blog*. If you just want access to the QR Code just type .qr after the shortened URL goo.gl/VZ22.qr

Contributor BinBin on the goo.gle discussion forum submitted an excellent tip on how to resize the default QR Code size. RIght-click on the QR Code and open the image in a new tab (your browser terminology may be slightly different). If you go directly to the QR code, for example, goo.gl/VZ22.qr you don’t need to right-click.

Now, in the address bar you’ll see a size of, for example, 150×150 in the URL. This is the size of the QR Code. So, if you wanted to make the QR Code 500×500 just replace the 150×150 with 500×500 and hit return.

*This tip also works on any bit.ly shortened URL. Bit.ly is an alternative shortening service. It lets you customise the bit.ly URL so I can specify something meaningful like bit.ly/rsclt to take me to my blog rather than a randomly generated URL. Much easier to remember! Bit.ly doesn’t offer QR Code generation though.

UPDATE 13/10/2010: Bit.ly now offers QR Code generation. Same process as Goo.gl. Just add .qr after the shortened URL.