When it comes to sharing web links, the goo.gl URL shortening service is one of the best options out there. Now Google is improving the service further by making it possible for app developers to create links that will take users to specific places within their apps. Simply put, these deep links will automatically detect if a person clicking on them is an iOS or Android user, and it will then see if the correct app is installed on their device. If it is, it will open the app and take you to the specific page/section that the link is associated with. If the app isn’t installed, the link will default to the browser and a website instead.
To better highlight how this works, Google provided an example involving Maps: goo.gl/maps/xlWFj. Clicking on this link on a desktop will open your browser, but clicking on it through your Android device will bring you to the right area of the Google Maps app. Of course, developers will have to do a few things before these special links will work, such as participating in App Indexing for Android and iOS.
Here’s instructions straight from Google on how to setup app deep linking on goo.gl:
- Complete the necessary steps to participate in App Indexing for Android and iOS at g.co/AppIndexing. Note that goo.gl deep links are open to all iOS developers, unlike deep links from Search currently. After this step, existing goo.gl short links will start deep linking to your app.
- Optionally integrate the URL Shortener API with your app’s share flow, your email campaigns, etc. to programmatically generate links that will deep link directly back to your app.
- When opened, the link auto-detects the user’s platform and if they have Maps installed. If the user has the app installed, the short link opens the content directly in the Android or iOS Maps app. If the user doesn’t have the app installed or is on desktop, the short link opens the page on the Maps website.
What do you think of Google’s new deep linking option? Let us know in the comments. For even more details, you’ll want to head over to Google’s official blog post.