In modern times, there are a plethora of websites dedicated to shortening links, some free and others paid, some with specific features and some without. Google was one of the first to introduce its URL shortening service, goo.gl, in December 2009. It launched the dedicated website goo.gl in September 2010, which is no longer active and has been replaced by other URL shorteners. Let’s take a look at how Google’s URL shortening service used to function, and how the more contemporary URL shorteners that we now find online have evolved since then.
One of the first URL shorteners was Google’s URL shortener
According to Google guidelines, Google introduced its own URL shortener in 2009 to make it easier for consumers to share links and track traffic online. After signing into his Google account, the user may obtain a list of abbreviated URLs, as well as a wealth of statistics such as real-time analytics, traffic over time, referrers, and visitor profiles. Since then, several similar services have developed, prompting Google to redirect its efforts and discontinue support for goo.gl in 2018. Firebase Dynamic Links, commonly known as FDL, took its place. This is a mechanism for creating dynamic links, also known as FDLs, or smart URLs, that allow users to direct existing and future users to any area inside an iOS, Android, or web app. Even if the Google URL shortener was decommissioned, all existing links remained to redirect to the correct location until March 30, 2019. After this date, Google stopped providing the service, however, all links continued to go to the correct location.
How do other URL shorteners operate now that goo.gl is no longer available?
Because goo.gl is no longer available, Google advises customers who wish to build new short links to look into other popular URL shortening services. But how do these systems operate in practice? In a nutshell, URL shorteners are systems that reduce the length of URLs while still leading users to the desired destination. They can achieve this goal by using a redirect, which directs visitors to the original lengthy URL’s web page. Because a redirect domain name reduces the amount of characters in the link and so provides a more pleasant URL, which is typically required for messaging technologies, these systems have become highly popular. In reality, since these technologies frequently limit the number of characters necessary in a message (for example, SMS), decreasing the amount of typing required might be critical for managing the message’s delivery or just avoiding extra charges. Moreover, a short link is easier to remember, to copy and also to receive trust: with long links, users don’t immediately understand what it deals with, so they usually don’t trust the link and rarely visit the landing page. This means less clicks and less visits to the intended webpage. All these risks are fortunately avoided by using a URL shortener like ours.