Jon's SiteBlogs

Abolish Go Links

Status: Draft: 2022-06-25


Overview of Go Links

Several large tech companies use a link shortener called go links that works just like the go links provided by golinks.io.

Here is a good summary provided on their Google Workspace Marketplace page.

GoLinks, known as go links, golinks, go/links, or go-links, are intuitive, easy-to-remember short links, shared by teams. It transforms long, ugly URLs into human-readable go links that can be used directly in browsers, emails, chats, and in conversation.

Here is the process for creating a go link:

  1. Create a link called my-important-document which points to https://documentwebsite/docs/65f8325471-hx1d95-4736-a9e4-b47e080fc677 by typing go/my-important-document in the address bar of your browser. You can paste your long link in and the addon will remember it.
  2. Access the document by typing go/my-important-document in your address bar.

Summary

Go links are annoying, don’t serve their purpose, are not an effective way to organize documents. Usage of go links goes against research on personal productivity and organizational learning. Instead, people should organize documents into folders structured by associated project, outcome, or epic while keeping the folder depth low (<4). Documents should be stored in a shared location like a Google Shared Drive, or in a shared documentation website.

The principle here is to make documents discoverable to other team members so they can find documents without having to already know the title, or even that the document exists. This can help retain information when team members forget things, move companies, change teams, another member joins, or someone outside the loop wants to learn more about a project.

Related Links

Meme Summary

What should be done to all go links:

Nuclear Explosion

Background

I’ve worked at Google for 4 years. Most people use go links internally for Google Docs that they share with the team.

I’ve found these to be bothersome since I joined, but my opinion has become stronger over time as I’ve learned more about Organization Learning and applied learnings from personal productivity books.

My stance against them is more against how they are used, not their existence. However, the best path forward is to stop using them entirely as I’ve never seen a good use of go links.

This has led me to believe a better strategy is to make documents discoverable by organizing them into a folders.

References and Resources on Organizational Learning

Here are some interesting resources on organizational learning.

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Getting Things Done

Allen, D. (2015). Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity. Penguin.

This is a book I recommend to everyone who works in knowledge management fields. It is about task and time management. It introduces a number of base principles that every knowledge worker should know on how to manage tasks without forgetting them and without getting stressed out.

Getting Things Done - Wikipedia

Organizational Learning

Argote, L. (2012). Organizational Learning: Creating, Retaining and Transferring Knowledge. Springer Science & Business Media.

Teaming: How Organizations Learn…

Edmondson, A. C. (2012). Teaming: How Organizations Learn, Innovate, and Compete in the Knowledge Economy. John Wiley & Sons.

Discoverability on Wikipedia

Discoverability. (2022). In Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Discoverability

Building a Second Brain

Forte, T. (2022). Building a Second Brain: A Proven Method to Organize Your Digital Life and Unlock Your Creative Potential. Simon and Schuster.

Window 7 Ribbon Apps

hickeys. (n.d.). Windows 7 Ribbons—Win32 apps. Retrieved June 12, 2022, from https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/win32/uxguide/cmd-ribbons

The Windows Ribbon is a good example of something that is organized for discoverability. Commands on the ribbon are organized so they appear in the context they would be useful. This post is a good read.

Library of Congress Classification

Library of Congress Classification. (n.d.). Retrieved June 13, 2022, from https://www.loc.gov/catdir/cpso/lcc.html