Google announced last week that it is shutting down the goo.gl URL shortening service. A URL shortening services is an online service that takes long, unwieldy addresses and creates a new, shorter address that it is easier to share. I’ve covered the Chrome extension before, which made it very easy to use. The timeline for the shutdown starts on April 13, 2018. After this date, users that have never used goo.gl will not be able to use it ever. If you already have used goo.gl to shorten links, you can continue using it until March 30, 2019. After this date, no new URLs will be shortened, but already shortened URLs will continue to work.
Google wants users to migrate to Firebase Dynamic Links, whatever those are. I’ve started to play in the console, but I can’t figure out how to make short links without writing some code.
Fortunately, there are a couple of services that you can use. The choices are limited by what is allowed on your network:
- tinyurl.com – The grandaddy of URL shorteners, TinyUrl has been around forever!
- Bitly | URL Shortener – Another great service.
- Ow.ly – Shorten urls, share files and track visits. A free service if you sign up for a free Hootsuite account.
And, for the do it yourselfer, there is YOURLS. Once installed on your server, you have complete control over everything it does. The nice feature of YOURLS is that you can run it on your own domain or on your school domain and not have to worry about the web filter getting in the way.
There are complaints from some corners of the internet that do not like how URL shortening services contribute to link rot, but, sometimes, URL shortening is the best solution to sharing sites with a class. Google Classroom or a website can also help share links if you can not use a shortening service.