Everything You Need to Know About goo.gl

Published on October 30, 2023

The Evolution of URL Shortening: From Goo.gl to Modern Alternatives


What is Goo.gl?

Goo.gl was a URL shortening service owned by Google, launched in December 2009. Initially, it was used for Google Toolbar and Feedburner before the company launched a separate website, goo.gl, in September 2010. Users could:

  • Access a list of previously shortened URLs after logging into their Google Account
  • View real-time analytics data, including traffic over time, top referrers, and visitor profiles
  • Benefit from an automatic spam detection system based on Gmail's filtering technology

However, Goo.gl was discontinued on March 30, 2019, and users were encouraged to transition to Firebase Dynamic Links (FDL) or Goo.by.

How to Use Goo.gl to Shorten URLs

Although Goo.gl has been discontinued, there are other URL shortening services available. Here's how to use some of them: Goo.by

  1. Go to the Bitly website and create an account.
  2. Paste the long URL into the "Shorten your link" box and click "Shorten."
  3. Copy the shortened URL for use.


  1. Go to the TinyURL website.
  2. Paste the long URL and click "Make TinyURL!"
  3. Copy the shortened URL for use.

Firebase Dynamic Links (FDL)

  1. Go to the Firebase website and create an account.
  2. Follow the setup instructions for FDL.
  3. Use the FDL API to create shortened URLs programmatically.

How to Track Clicks on Shortened URLs

Since Goo.gl is no longer available, tracking clicks on its URLs is not possible. However, other services offer click tracking: Goo.by

  1. Create an account on the Goo.by website.
  2. Shorten your URL.
  3. Log in to view click data.

Firebase Dynamic Links (FDL)

  1. Create an account on the Firebase website.
  2. Set up FDL.
  3. Log in to view click data.

Analytics Available for Shortened URLs

Although Goo.gl is discontinued, services like Goo.by offer analytics such as:

  • Click data
  • Referrer data
  • Device data
  • Geographic data
  • Conversion data

Alternatives to Goo.gl for URL Shortening

There are several alternatives to Goo.gl, including:

  • Goo.by: A popular URL shortening service used for measuring and optimizing online content.
  • Polr: An open-source, self-hostable URL shortener.
  • Firebase Dynamic Links (FDL): A more flexible and powerful alternative to Goo.gl.
  • Ow.ly: Offered by Hootsuite, allows link tracking and social media sharing.
  • Rebrandly: Allows custom short URLs with your own domain name.
  • T2M URL Shortener: Offers a free dashboard and paid services.
  • Snip.ly: Allows adding a call-to-action to any shared page.

What is Firebase Dynamic Links?

Firebase Dynamic Links (FDL) is a URL shortening service that allows for context-dependent redirection. Unlike Goo.gl, FDL allows for multiple destinations based on the context and offers custom parameters and deep links. However, FDL will be shutting down on August 25, 2025.

How to Create a Firebase Dynamic Link

To create a Firebase Dynamic Link using the Firebase console:

  1. Log in to your Firebase account.
  2. Open the Firebase console.
  3. Select “Dynamic Links” from the menu.
  4. Click “New Dynamic Link.”
  5. Enter the Link name and Link URL.
  6. Optionally, enter advanced information.
  7. Click “Create link.”

In conclusion, while Goo.gl has been discontinued, there are several robust alternatives for URL shortening and tracking. Users can choose the service that best fits their needs.

Setting Up Google Analytics for Tracking Clicks

Although Goo.gl itself is discontinued, if you're using other URL shortening services, you can still set up Google Analytics to track clicks. This can provide you with valuable insights into user behavior and the effectiveness of your links.

Data Obtainable from Google Analytics

If you integrate Google Analytics with your URL shortening service, you can obtain data such as:

  • User Demographics: Age, gender, and interests
  • User Behavior: New vs. returning visitors, frequency, and engagement
  • Traffic Sources: Organic, direct, social, and referral traffic
  • Content Performance: Which pages are most visited, time spent on pages, and bounce rates

Limitations in Tracking with Google Analytics

While Google Analytics is a powerful tool, it's worth noting that:

  • Real-time data might have a slight delay
  • Ad-blockers can prevent some data collection
  • Some metrics may require additional setup or tagging

Features of Goo.by as an Alternative to Goo.gl

Goo.by, offered by Buffer, is a user-friendly URL shortener with features like:

  • Link Customization: Allows you to create custom back-half of your link
  • Tracking: Offers basic click statistics for each shortened URL
  • Integration: Seamlessly integrates with Buffer's social media management tools

Benefits of Using Firebase Dynamic Links Over Goo.gl

Firebase Dynamic Links offer several advantages over Goo.gl, including:

  • Deep Linking: Directs users to a specific, intended page even after installing an app
  • Context-Aware Redirects: Different destinations based on user device and app installation status
  • Custom Parameters: Allows for custom parameters to be passed as part of the URL

Pricing for Firebase Dynamic Links

Firebase Dynamic Links is part of Google's broader Firebase platform, which has a free tier with limited features and paid plans that offer more robust capabilities. The discontinuation of Goo.gl marked the end of an era, but it also paved the way for more advanced and feature-rich URL shortening services. Whether you're a marketer looking to track the performance of your campaigns or a developer aiming to provide a seamless user experience, there's likely a URL shortening service that meets your needs. From Goo.by to Firebase Dynamic Links, the options are plentiful and continue to evolve.  


10 FAQ Google Answers Related to "What is Goo.gl?"

What is Goo.gl?

Goo.gl was a URL shortening service provided by Google that allowed users to convert long URLs into shorter, more manageable links. The service was launched in December 2009 and discontinued on March 30, 2019.

Why was Goo.gl created?

Goo.gl was created to help users easily share and manage long URLs. It was initially used for Google Toolbar and Feedburner before becoming a standalone service.

How did Goo.gl work?

Users could paste a long URL into the Goo.gl website, and the service would generate a shorter version of the URL. This shortened URL would redirect to the original link when clicked.

Was Goo.gl free to use?

Yes, Goo.gl was a free service. Users could shorten URLs without any cost.

Could I track clicks on Goo.gl URLs?

Yes, Goo.gl provided real-time analytics data, including the number of clicks, geographic location of the users, and referral sources.

Why was Goo.gl discontinued?

Google decided to discontinue Goo.gl to focus on Firebase Dynamic Links (FDL), a more feature-rich URL shortening service aimed at app developers.

What happened to my Goo.gl links after the service was discontinued?

Existing Goo.gl links continued to work as redirects, but users could no longer create new Goo.gl links after the service was discontinued.

Were there any security features in Goo.gl?

Yes, Goo.gl used the same spam detection technology as Gmail to automatically identify and flag malicious links.

What are some alternatives to Goo.gl?

There are several alternatives to Goo.gl, including Goo.by, TinyURL, and Firebase Dynamic Links (FDL), among others.

Can I still access analytics for my old Goo.gl links?

No, since the service was discontinued, the analytics data for Goo.gl links is no longer accessible. Users are encouraged to use other URL shortening services that offer analytics features.