According to the NYT’s Bits blog, the service is only available from the Google Toolbar and for the Feedburner syndication service. The new offering seems to be pretty blatantly aimed at the very lucrative spot that bit.ly currently holds, so much so that bit.ly is now offering a white label service, currently free but they will eventually require a fee for sites that want a custom shortener consistent with their own identity.
Bit.ly tracks a colossal amount of traffic through the exchange of shortened URLs, especially via social messaging like Twitter. The space is intensely competitive and several other such services have already shut down for want of the same sort of volume bit.ly sees as a result of its preferred partnership with Twitter.
Google, of course, could stand to run its service at a loss until it captures a significant volume of links to be self sustaining. Given how critical shortening services have become as the link economy has accelerated via higher velocity content vehicles, this particular announcement has me concerned about the privacy implications from Google getting a hold of this data in combination with everything else to which it is increasingly laying claim.