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Google’s goo.gl link shortener service is shutting down

Launched in 2009, it had a longer run that a lot of Google services.

The way the web is used has changed drastically since 2009 when Google launched their goo.gl URL shortener service. Since then, we have seen a shift to mobile devices, app usage, and digital assistants such as Alexa or Siri. There’s also any number of other URL shorteners, such as ow.ly and Bitly, which also provide tracking for the links they generate.

Google announced today that in light of the changes in web usage they will be sunsetting their popular URL service and transitioning to Firebase Dynamic Links (FDLs).

These FDLs are more targeted at developers and provide a way to deep link content into native apps. Imagine browsing for flights on your mobile browser, selecting your flight and getting a link that goes to that exact place in the check-out routine in the corresponding mobile app, even if you have to install the app. How much simpler the user flow is when you don’t have to install the app, then go back to the browser and click the link again to resume. I can see this being revolutionary in user experience on the platform we use the most, our smartphones.

google link shortener

Unfortunately, for the non-developers, who might want to shorten a few links while all existing links generated by goo.gl will still work in perpetuity, they won’t be able to create new ones after March 30, 2019, so Google helpfully points those users to Bitly, ow.ly or other services alike.

Starting April 13, 2018, anonymous users and users who have never created short links before today will not be able to create new short links via the goo.gl console.

So as one service I’ve used extensively in the past rides off into the sunset, another more exciting service is coming in. I can’t wait for not having to double my efforts when transitioning from browser to native apps.

How do you feel about Google shutting down its popular link shortening service? Let us know what you think in the comments below! 

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