Google unveiled URL shortener "goo.gl" back in 2009, but it has now announced that it will start shutting the service down next month and a complete closure by 2019. However, existing links will continue to work. The URL shortener was launched for Google's FeedBurner and the Toolbar, but neither of those exists now. Google now wants the users and developers to move to Firebase Dynamic Links with the latest announcement meant to "refocus" the company's efforts.
In a blog post on Friday, Michael Hermanto, Software Engineer, Firebase, said, "Many popular URL shortening services have emerged and the ways people find content on the Internet have also changed dramatically, from primarily desktop web pages to apps, mobile devices, home assistants, and more."
For users looking to create new short links, Google has recommended the Firebase Dynamic Links or other popular services like Bit.ly and Ow.ly as an alternative. FDLs essentially are smart URLs that enable developers to send existing and potential users to any location within an iOS, Android or web app.
Meanwhile, from April 13 this year, new and anonymous users will not be able to access the goo.gl console to create short links. But existing users who have logged in with their Google accounts will have access to all features like creation, management, and analytics until March 30 2019, after which the console will be discontinued. Google noted that "all links will continue to redirect to the intended destination" even after the shutdown, while users will also be able to export link information from the console. Also, developer projects that have not accessed URL Shortener APIs before will not be able to create short links with the service from May 30, 2018.
Google is encouraging developers to switch over to Firebase Dynamic Links that have the advantage of automatically detecting a user's platform and send the user to either the web or your app. "URL Shortener has been a great tool that we're proud to have built. As we look towards the future, we're excited about the possibilities of Firebase Dynamic Links, particularly when it comes to dynamic platform detection and links that survive the app installation process," the company said.