URL shorteners have taken the Web by storm over the last year or so, coinciding with the rise of Twitter, which limits messages to 140 characters. As a result, people don't want to waste those characters on URLs, so sites like TinyURL and Bit.ly have risen to provide the shortest possible URL for a link.

Now, Facebook and Google have both seen the value of operating in that market, and have launched competing URL shortening tools. Facebook has launched http://fb.me, and Google's running http://goo.gl. The former is being used in Facebook's mobile interface, but doesn't seem to have widespread availability.

Google's tool is slightly more accessible - while it can't be accessed by Twitter clients, ensuring that it won't take over from current market-leader bit.ly just yet, it can be got to through Google's toolbar and through FeedBurner, both of which have just received updates to enable the functionality. Google's Matt Cutts has tweeted that this restriction is just "for now".

And neither platform offers the full statistical analysis and customisation possibilities that bit.ly does, focusing instead on speed, security and stability. Google promises a malware filter, as well as ultra-speedy resolution of full domain names.

Will you switch over, if you use the Google toolbar? Or are you happy with the URL shortening service you use? Tell us below.

UPDATE: Gosh, what a day for URL-shortening news.  Bit.ly has announced a Pro service which provides custom short URLs to publishers and bloggers that want to make their content more tweetable.