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A "go" short-link service


The first time I encountered "go" links was at Google. Anyone on the corporate network could register a URL shortcut and it would redirect the user to the appropriate page. So for instance, if you wanted to find out more about BigTable, you simply directed your browser at http://go/bigtable and you would be redirected to something about the BigTable data storage system. I was later told that the first go service at Google was written by Benjamin Staffin to end the never-ending stream of requests for internal CNAME entries. He described it as AOL keywords for the corporate network. These days if you go to any reasonably sized company, you are likely to find a similar system. Etsy made one after seeing that Twitter had one ... it's a contagious and useful little tool. So contagious, in fact, that many former Googlers that I know have built or contributed to a similar system post-Google. I am no different, this is my "go" link service.

One slight difference between this go service and Google's is that this one is also capable of generating short links for you.


This tool is written in Go (ironically) and can be easily installed and started with the following commands.

GOPATH=`pwd` go install

By default, the service will put all of its data in the directory data and will listen to requests on the port 8067. Both of these, however, are easily configured using the --data=/path/to/data and --addr=:80 command line flags.

DNS Setup

To get the most benefit from the service, you should setup a DNS entry on your local network, Make sure that is in the search domains for each user on the network. This is usually easily accomplished by configuring your DHCP server. Now, simply typing "go" into your browser should take you to the service, where you can register shortcuts. Obviously, those shortcuts will also be available by typing "go/shortcut".

Using the Service

Once you have it all setup, using it is pretty straight-forward.

Create a new shortcut

Type go/edit/my-shortcut and enter the URL.

Visit a shortcut

Type go/my-shortcut and you'll be redirected to the URL.

Shorten a URL

Type go and enter the URL.