For the last 3 months, I’ve been working on a "super secret internal project" here at Google. Yes, I’ve been working with Urchin, the web analytics software. Yes, I moved to California. Yes, I’m busy as can be. But that’s about it – besides the infrequency of my posts as of late (Sorry, Mike, I’ll get on it) I haven’t really elaborated much on what I’ve been up to from a work standpoint. But, as of 7pm PST last evening, I can, which is good, b/c I’m not really much of a secret-keeper, at least not about myself.
So, without further ado, I invite you all to check out the latest news. In a nutshell – Google rebranded Urchin and has launched an enterprise-scalable, FREE web analytics service. Before this acquisition, Company X would buy keywords and write relevant ads, so that when you searched on Google for, say, "Laptop Computers", you could click on the aforementioned ad and end up on the client’s site. That’s where Google then bid you a fond adieu (for the most part) and left the transaction at that point with no insight on whether or not you continued through to a purchase. Now, with Google Analytics, Company X can know that you searched on Laptop Computers, you clicked on the ad, you got to their site, placed the product in the shopping cart but didn’t purchase. Or maybe you did. Or maybe you just left the site immediately; whatever your behavior, Company X can now help track this to make refinements to their site and to learn about your behavior. Invasive? I take the stance that no, not so much; the company never knows that it’s YOU or YOUR identity, just that a user followed the following path to purchase. In the end, I see it as a win-win.
What does that mean to Bloggers? A TON. Prior to this release, getting site stats was nearly impossible unless you wanted to pay for it. The installation was potentially difficult and the stats were rudimentary at best. Now, the Blogging community should rejoice – you now have near real-time access to how many people were viewing your site, where they came from, and even what they did there. Get linked by Dooce.com or a trackback from Slashdot or something? You can now know that’s why your traffic tripled. In short, the power of analytics is yours, free of cost.
Google. Gotta love ’em…I know I do.