A go link is a context-specific abbreviated URL, that lets you use a short, human-readable name to remember and get to a URL. This is a subclass of url shortening within a context (usually links of interest to a person or organization), which often provides a much larger volume of short urls with less context and readability. This is often implemented with wikimarkup online.

Starting in 2003, editable shortcuts became popular on Wikipedia as ways to quickly link to a commonly referenced wikipedia page. In 2006 the first general-purpose go link system was created internally at Google by Eric DeFriez. The idea became beloved and soon spread to other institutions. A few years later in 2009 the first public reference to Go links at NCSU,[1][2] these became widely used at universities both as URL shorteners on the web and for URL rewriting within campus tools. By the early 2010s, Yahoo had its own version ("yo links"), and other organizations began to develop intranet-specific implementations.

In 2019 a company named 'Golinks' was founded dedicated to providing this as a paid service.

Programming Libraries


While both the first known go links url shortcut site and the go programming language were both developed at Google, they are completely unrelated according to Eric DeFriez. The go links system was developed in 2006, predating the programming language with the same name. The original go links system at Google was not developed in the go programming language, but rather in python.

In 2017, kellegous's go library became popular on github and widely remixed.

Wikimedia uses


On Wikimedia wikis, this pattern is often limited to pages outside the main namespace, with the namespace included in the abbreviated link. Meta is an exception, with abbreviations such as [[S]] (stewards) and [[GIPBE]] (global IP block exemptions). More common are links with a namespace, such as [[WM:HELP]].

MediaWiki supports interwiki and interlanguage links, which allows for abbreviated links across wikis in a similar format, with fixed abbreviations for project and language-code. E.g. [[w:WP:THIS]], [[w:en:P:SCUBA]], [[w:H:ALL]], &c.


  • Universities: NCSU, Brown, George Mason, Kansas U, Lehigh, Middlebury, Ohio State, UVMt, Wakeforest, ...
  • Intranet go-links at companies influencing other web orgs: Google, Yahoo, Twitter, FB, Etsy, Netflix, Linkedin, Stripe, Paypal, Mixpanel
  • Service providers hosting go links: url shorteners added this as a white-label service (bit.ly &c, 2011+), trot.to (2018), gl.io (2019), oslash (2021)
  • Wikis: MediaWiki redirects + namespaces, Wikipedia shortcuts (across namespaces w/ WP: and WT: prefixes), fedstoa

A global version of this is the "wikilinks everywhere" repo, a federated concept where a wide range of clients interpret links -- or any marked up syntax suggesting a link by surrounding it in [[double brackets]] -- as potential go-links, and check a cascading list of namespaces for a match.


  1. "https://twitter.com/usaussie/status/5867251013". Twitter. Retrieved 2023-05-24. 
  2. Young, Nick. "Project: Go Links for NC State – Design & Web Services" (in en-US). Retrieved 2023-05-24.