The go link, along with the go link application, has a long history and has been around since late 2009. It has matured and adapted over the last decade as they have migrated their way into the tech industry. Here is the full history of go links.
The first documented history of the go link dates all the way back to November 2009 by Nick Young who worked in IT at North Carolina State University.
Nick Young developed this system on his own and released the final version of GoLinks to NCSU on October 10, 2010.
This GoLinks system allows the student body and faculty to create go links that could be shared in classrooms, posters, emails, social media, and much more.
Around the same time, Benjamin Staffin at Google developed a go link system that introduced the “go/” domain and allowed Googlers to simply use the short link “go/link” in their browser. Benjamin described go links as “AOL keywords for the corporate network.”
Soon the application became an essential part of the Google ecosystem where everyone used it to quickly share links around the company. Even leadership took notice of the application and realized the importance.
In 2012, when Marissa Mayer left Google to become the CEO of Yahoo, a similar go links application popped up at Yahoo, but with a twist: yo/links.
From 2012 to 2015 as people left Google to join other tech companies, they would realize just how important that go link application was to completing everyday tasks. Soon the internal application started showing up all around Silicon Valley as engineers built similar systems:
Linkedin, Twitter, Square, Netflix, PayPal, Stripe, Airbnb, Optimizely, Mixpanel, Nextdoor, and more.
In 2014, Jorge Zamora, who worked at Yahoo, would visit his friends who worked at other tech companies in Silicon Valley. He noticed the same thing over and over: go links. The links would be posted in the cafeterias, break rooms, and hallways; you couldn’t miss them.
Each of these applications was usually built by a tools engineer inside the company and served the simple purpose of redirecting URLs.
Jorge saw that these applications could be improved significantly, and could be made general and available to the public: GoLinks as a Service. He and a few friends began working on a go links system that would be made available to any company, not just the tech giants.
In August 2016, the team released the first SaaS version of go links.
This application was more than just a redirect system. The GoLinks platform provides an out of the box solution that any single person can get set up in minutes; no software installation needed. With this GoLinks solution, you can install the extension in any browser, and have go links start to resolve wherever they are used. This brought go links to the next level that empowered anyone, not just engineers, to easily implement a go links system at their own company.
With features like role-based access control, tags, Slack app, browser quick search, unlisted go links, variable go links, in-page creation with the extension, NLP suggestions for misspelled links, DNS public and private entries, SSO solutions for Google Workspace, Okta, OneLogin, Ping Identity, Azure, or a custom SAML SSO, this would become the premier choice for enterprise clients choosing a go links solution.
Fast forward to today, GoLinks is now making go links history and is being used by over 4000 companies including OpenAI, Impossible Foods, Brex, Instacart, Mercari, PAX, Confluent, Marqeta, Lambda School, and more—including a bunch of Xooglers.