Google Sunsets URL Shortener

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Google has announced that no new users will be able to use the URL shortening service after 13 April 2018, and existing users will lose access on 30 March 2019. Shortened links will redirect indefinitely.

Wow. That is… well, that sucks. This was the only shortener I was willing to use.

Adam raises an interesting point about the Google Maps integration. I wonder what will replace it?

There’ll never be anything as pronounceable again.

I think Google had removed the Google Maps integration some time ago. I used to maintain a single Google Map with locations for all of Tristan’s high school cross-country meets (which are often in places that don’t have easy addresses). At some point while he was still in high school, I stopped being able to link to those locations easily. I can’t remember the details, but might have been removed at that point.

Yet another example of why not to put personal data into any of Google’s peripheral products. The ones that have burned me worst were Panoramio and Picasa. I’ve also lost track of how many iterations Google’s web based photo products have gone through and I still can’t figure out how to organize photos there or share album browsing with friends without sending explicit share links. I live in fear of Google Earth being completely deprecated – it already seems to be on the wane. Gmail is probably safe, at least I hope so.

Yes, I agree that Gmail is safe, since it’s used by far too many people.

But I think this may be more a sign of the times than a problem with Google. It’s not as though Apple is any better about orphaning products, unfortunately.

It’s one thing when it’s a product from an individual or small company and the business model just doesn’t work. But it’s frustrating when the product or service comes from a juggernaut and probably has more than enough users to satisfy any smaller firm.

I read the other day that offers URL shortening. That seems promising because they actually paid accounts.

Indeed — Zapier just broke that tool out on its own, probably in response to Google’s move.

Out of interest, why was the Google one ok and others aren’t? I personally don’t use URL shorteners at all, but also didn’t realise there was a difference between them. Isn’t Bitly the most popular?

I don’t understand why some people are so surprised by this. Google has a long history of killing projects with little-to-no notice—and it doesn’t matter how big or popular it is (Google Reader, anyone?).

While is by far the most popular, it’s no better than Google or anyone else… they can sell or disappear at any moment, so the only permanent solution is to set up your own URL-shortener (which I’m told is not horribly difficult, but beyond the average user).

The trick is protecting it while still having it be useful.

I have a friend who set one up. He had to pull the plug on it after a month or two because there were thousands or instances where people were using it to link to highly illegal forms of pornographic images.

It’s not hard, there are several that are nearly plug-and-play projects on GitHub. If you can setup a web server, you can setup a shortener.

Turns out Google Forms still uses the link shortener. I wonder what Google will do to replace it?


My WordPress blog still uses FeedBurner (wikipedia entry) (bought by Google years ago, and then deprecated for years, but still works). So maybe the shortener will work for another decade…

Google is well on its way to actually doing this. Google Forms always lets you shorten the URL to a form, and as of March 25th, it was still using for the URL shortener. As of today, March 27th, it’s now using, which is a weird URL.

@ace, I don’t think Google Maps ever stopped using the domain for sharing links. I’m pretty sure I’ve used it in the past few years and I just tried it (not as a signed-in user).

Google got .gle in 2014 when it got .google and some other new TLDs. Once it became possible to create a lot more top-level domains, it makes sense that they would get one that allows them to spell the company name in a short way, i.e., instead of using the country code domain for Greenland (.gl). doesn’t resolve to an ip address right now, they may not have a decision about how to use it. My guess is if is used as a link shortener at all, it will be only for official company URLs. is the first use of the TLD I’ve heard of.

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