Google's URL shortener will shut down after almost ten years. The service has been popular for some time to bypass unwieldy addresses and gain detailed analytics.
Come April 13, new and anonymous users won't be able to use the service, with a complete shutdown planned for existing users in March 2019. Despite this, all existing links will remain active.
According to Google, the decision comes down to refocusing and competition. The company is instead pushing Firebase, its smart URL service that can direct users to any location within an iOS, Android, or web app.
“We launched the Google URL Shortener back in 2009 as a way to help people more easily share links and measure traffic online. Since then, many popular URL shortening services have emerged and the ways people find content on the Internet have also changed dramatically, from primarily desktop webpages to apps, mobile devices, home assistants, and more,” said Firebase software engineer Michael Hermanto in a blog post.
For non-developers, Google recommends popular services Bitly and Ow.ly. Though user's goo.gl links won't migrate to Firebase automatically, there will be an option to export them for use elsewhere.
It's sad to see Goo.gl go due to its simplicity, but ultimately the company is right. Its service doesn't offer anything others don't, and while it survives, Firebase will be underutilized.
“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. We hope you are too,” ends Hermanto.