14 November 2005
If you run a website, you’ll no doubt appreciate how interesting it is to view your visitor statistics and see how many people have found your website by searching for [google subdomains] or [who is tony ruscoe?]. (If you’re running an e-commerce site, you’ll probably pretend that you’re more interested in conversion goals and revenue. Whatever...)
Well, Google have taken aim at yet another battleship and blown it out of the water. This time they’ve rebranded the Urchin software that they acquired earlier this year and released it as Google Analytics. So, how much does it cost? A few thousand dollars a month perhaps? Nope. A couple of hundred then? Nope. In true Google style, they’ve gone and done it for free.
Personally, I use the statistical analysis software that my web host provides for me. It does what I need it to do, but then I’m not interested in complex tracking, fancy graphs or increasing my conversion rates. (I’ve still added the Google Analytics code to my website though just so that I can see what it does.) However, for the small to medium companies who want instant reports on how they’re site is doing, this appears to be the answer – and it’s going to be a serious blow to companies like WebTrends and Omniture whose software costs hundreds and thousands of dollars (depending on the size of your site or the number of hits you get).
Of course, all the usual folk will be screaming and shouting about how Google is invading their privacy because they’ll now know about every website they’ve been visiting (or at least, the ones that are using Google Analytics). I can only see this as a good thing though. To Google, the information being tracked by Google Analytics is obviously priceless, which is why they can afford to offer the service for free. Imagine if they use the data to enhance their search results and page rankings... that would certainly shake things up a bit!
On the surface, it looks like Google are about to put the entire web statistics and analysis industry out of business, but whether this is true depends entirely on how the industry responds to this release and how Google continues to develop this service.
[Via Matt Cutts]
On the subject of everyone and their dog blogging, maybe I should see if I can train mine?!?