Google announced they are discontinuing their popular URL shortening service, goo.gl. Current users of Goog.gl can continue to use their Goo.gl console for an additional year. The Goo.gl console will permanently shut down on March 19, 2019.
Will Goo.gl Links Stop Working?
The answer is no. Goo.gl links will continue to function. However the Goo.gl console will stop functioning, meaning that you may lose control of those redirects. Fortunately, Google is providing resources for migrating away from Goo.gl and a year to do it. Here is what the Goo.gl home page advises:
You will be able to view your analytics data and download your short link information in csv format for up to one year, until March 30, 2019, when we will discontinue goo.gl. Previously created links will continue to redirect to their intended destination.
What Next for Goo.gl Users?
Google is not leaving Goo.gl users without options. The reason Goo.gl has been shut down is because it has been superceded by new technology called Firebase Dynamic Links (FDL). Google is encouraging users to transition to FDL, Bitly or Ow.ly.
“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. If you are looking to create new short links, we recommend you use Firebase Dynamic Links or check out popular services like Bitly and Ow.ly as an alternative.”
Why is Goo.gl Shutting Down?
Google is focusing their resources on a new technology called Firebase Dynamic Links (FDL). FDL is an evolution of shortlinking technology that bridges the web and mobile app environments, providing a seamless path between them.
What is Firebase Dynamic Links?
FDL is part of a larger suite of products focused on app developers. The importance of FDL is its ability to provide a seamless link between a website and a mobile app. With FDL your business can provide a deep link straight to any location in your app. Here is how Google’s documentation describes FDL:
“Firebase Dynamic Links are links that work the way you want, on multiple platforms, and whether or not your app is already installed.
With Dynamic Links, your users get the best available experience for the platform they open your link on. If a user opens a Dynamic Link on iOS or Android, they can be taken directly to the linked content in your native app. If a user opens the same Dynamic Link in a desktop browser, they can be taken to the equivalent content on your website.”
Should You Migrate to FDL?
Firebase Dynamic Links promises to be free forever. If your business has an app or may have an app in the future, FDL may be useful for providing new and better experiences for users.
If your business is focused on app installs, then FDL could be useful for driving app installs.
FDL links also continue the traditional shortlinking function and Google welcomes consumers to migrate to their platform. But the welcome isn’t particularly enthusiastic, as Google also encourages users to check out competing URL shortening services.
Nevertheless, you may wish to at least give FDL a try to see if it provides the analytics functionality you need. If in the future your business decides to transition to an app, having existing FDL links may make the transition easier.
Why is Google Soft Selling FDL to Goo.gl Users?
But it’s not a very hard sell, especially as they also encourage consumers to try Bitly and Ow.ly.
That could be a reflection of the fact that FDL is free while Firebase is a suite of free and paid products aimed at app providers and developers. Google won’t make money on FDL, but they will earn income with Firebase.
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