I could instead trade up for this Google+ URL:
There are a few stipulations to this option:
- You must have 10 or more followers on Google+
- Your account has to be at least a month old
- You need to have a profile photo (which apparently justifies the legitimacy of your usage of Google+ by tying your account to a real person)
The setup process is simple and free (and can apply to businesses too!). The screenshot below (Figure A) shows the email I received which contains the link to proceed with the operation:
What if you didn't receive the email? No problem! Google states that if you meet their criteria you'll see a button called "Get a custom URL" at the top of your Google+ profile or page. That will allow you to follow the same steps I've outlined below.
I clicked "Get URL" from the email message (having verified by examining the message headers that it was actually from Google, of course) which brought me to the following page. (Figure B)
As you can see, Google predetermined the URL based on my full name, but if I wanted to change it I could click the "Request a different one" link. Note: your custom URL must still abide by Google's Policies and Principles.
I clicked "I agree to the Terms of Service" then clicked "Change URL." That brought up the following box which required me to enter my mobile phone number as part of the process. (Figure C)
I entered my number and clicked "Send Code." The code was texted to my mobile, and I could then enter it into the box on my screen. (Figure D)
I clicked "Verify" and was then presented with the following dialogue. (Figure E)
Clicking "Confirm choice" completed the process!
What if you want to change your custom URL later?
Well, Google states you can't really change it so much as switch lower case to upper case characters ("ScottMatteson" to "scottmatteson" for instance) or adjust accents and diacritics. I have to admit I didn't know what the heck a diacritic was, so Wikipedia informed me it is a "glyph added to a letter, or basic glyph." Not feeling enlightened, I researched further and found it is basically another kind of accent. I think both accents and diacritics probably require special keyboards/characters and are not likely to be used here in the States.
If you do want to change the case of your URL or try those accents/diacritics, you can access the Links section of your Google+ profile to do this. Just go to your custom URL and tack "/about" onto the end. For instance:
This will bring up your profile settings. Look for the "Links" section. (Figure F)
Click Edit. (Figure G)
You can adjust the URL according to the allowed parameters then click "Save."
Enjoy using your Google+ custom URL!
Scott Matteson is a senior systems administrator and freelance technical writer who also performs consulting work for small organizations. He resides in the Greater Boston area with his wife and three children.