Google introduces cross-platform URLs for deep linking inside of apps deep link URL

Google is supercharging their short URLs with the ability to deep link into apps. Developers that have taken advantage of Google’s new App Indexing — available on both Android and iOS — can create URLs that take users to specific places inside their app, or by default, their website.

For instance, clicking on one of these new URLs will auto-detect the specific platform (either Android or iOS) and whether or not they have a specific app installed. If the app is installed, the app will open directly to the content. If the app isn’t installed, the user will simply be directed to the website. Simple.

Google says the new feature actually works retroactively, so any old URLs will still work by linking users to an app. To get started, developers will need to integrate Google’s new URL Shortener API into their app’s share flow. Here’s are the steps needed to set everything up.

Set up app deep linking on

  1. Complete the necessary steps to participate in App Indexing for Android and iOS at Note that deep links are open to all iOS developers, unlike deep links from Search currently. After this step, existing short links will start deep linking to your app.
  2. 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.


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