Google Ending URL Shortener Support In Favor Of Dynamic Links

Google announced it is shuttering its URL Shortener service (goo.gl) in favor of Firebase Dynamic Links (FDL). As a result users will not be able to create new links starting from April 13, 2018. Existing links, however, will continue to be operational after the April 13 date and up until March 30, 2019 - the date in which Google support will end completely. This does not means those links will still not redirect as intended, as they will, it just means there will be no additional benefits associated with using a URL shortener service. Instead, the shortened link will just act as though it is a generic URL link.

The reason Google is ending support is due to how differently links are used today compared to when Google first launched its solution. Specifically, the different access points (devices) people now use and the different destination points for links. Which is where FLDs come in as this is a solution based on deep linking, though a more advanced version. For example, deep links offer the benefit of being able to redirect someone to not only a website, but a point within a website. This works the same for an app with developers able to direct users to a specific destination within an app. FLDs are even more advanced in this respect as they are able to account for different devices and operating systems. Something which was not always the case with standard deep links.

For developers, there are also additional benefits on offer as the destination can be far more customized with the option to redirect users who don’t have a destination app installed to the Google Play Store listing for the app. Even more importantly from the developer perspective, an FDL will continue to operate as originally intended once the app has been installed and opened. In short, FDLs are a far more robust solution for short links than previous deep link versions and a better all-round solution in general. Not just for developers either, as FDLs essentially guarantee that a user’s navigation is uninterrupted, and irrespective of whether an app needs to be installed. As the user ends up where the link originally intended to take them - the very reason the user clicked the link in the first place.

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John Anon

Editor-in-Chief
John has been writing about and reviewing tech products since 2014 after making the transition from writing about and reviewing airlines. With a background in Psychology, John has a particular interest in the science and future of the industry. Besides adopting the Managing Editor role at AH John also covers much of the news surrounding audio and visual tech, including cord-cutting, the state of Pay-TV, and Android TV. Contact him at [email protected]
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