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Google Analytics Adds New Features; Finally Updates Software Version



image Just days after Ars Technica criticized Google for acquiring Urchin and then letting the software version of the analytics package rot, Google will today announce Urchin Software.

The announcement comes at today’s eMetrics Summit in DC, where Google’s Brett Crosby will reveal a significant update to the old Urchin 5 software.

From a Google statement…

Google Analytics is introducing Urchin Software in limited beta worldwide. Urchin Software is an update to Urchin 5 software, and a free 90-day trial of the beta version of Urchin Software can be requested from an authorized reseller. Urchin Software will be available for a discounted price to users of Urchin 5, and will include many improvements including tools to assist in migrating configurations and data from previous versions of Urchin. Once the new software is out of beta, it can be purchased through an authorized reseller, who often offer comprehensive support and consultation services as well.

Note that the software version will only offer a 90-day free trial. After that, you’ll have to pay for the privilege of having a desktop version of Google Analytics. (Need a recommendation for an authorized Google Analytics reseller?)

Before you rush off and download Urchin Software, you might want to take another look at the completely free Google Analytics. Especially as the company has announced some great new improvements.

First up, Google Analytics now includes data from your web site’s “site search”.

Site search aggregates data about how searches affect site usage, e-commerce activity, and conversion rates, by tracking internal search patterns. This best-of-breed feature will soon be available worldwide, and it works with Google Custom Search?, GSA, Google Mini? and many other non-Google site search products.

Ask any web analytics guru, and they’ll tell you that looking at where traffic comes from is only half the picture. Figuring out how they navigate your site, is an important part of the equation. The ability to understand the searches conducted on your site will not only help you with your site usability, but it will provide new insight into your SEM keyword research.

The second upgrade to Google Analytics is also pretty sweet. Enter “Event tracking”…

Event tracking, which launches in a limited beta at the eMetrics Summit, enables Google Analytics users to measure visitor engagement with a site’s interactive elements, such as Ajax, Javascript, Flash movies, page gadgets, downloads and other multimedia Web 2.0 experiences.

If your site is one that loves to call itself “Web 2.0″, then you’ll love the ability to measure the interaction with the dynamic components of your site content. Brett Crosby tells us, “Google Analytics event tracking reports on RIA/Web 2.0 applications such as Ajax, Flash, AIR, and Silverlight. We see it as the next step in web analytics, and it’ll really help our users better track how visitors engage with the multimedia, interactive elements of their sites.”

Here’s how it looks for tracking a video player…

image

(click to enlarge)

Event tracking will be a limited release beta. If you happen to be at the eMetric Summit, you can stop by the Google Analytics booth to sign up. No word yet on when the rest of us will be able to test it.

Lastly, GA is adding new language support, bringing the total number of supported languages to 25. The new languages are Czech, Hungarian, Portuguese (Portugal), Thai, Filipino, and Indonesian.

I’m a big fan of Google Analytics. I stand by my statement that it’s good enough for 90% of the web analytics market. With the addition of these options, and the favorable price point–FREE–you really have no excuse for keeping an eye on your site’s performance.


  • http://www.seoposition.com Brian Gilley

    I agree w/you Andy. If it’s free it’s for me. And I think the free version of Analytics has enough power for nearly 80-90% of clients or sites we’re involved in tracking.

    The multimedia tracking looks pretty cool. Haven’t utilized that very much but will give it a try.

  • http://www.seo-theory.com/wordpress/ Michael Martinez

    The site search feature looks like a great idea.

    I hope they implement it soon because I don’t see where you turn it on in the site profile.

  • http://www.watersubject.com Water Portal

    it took 2 years for Google to build a new, more improved overlay for Analytics, I guess we will wait for few years more for new version of Analytics to go live:)

  • http://bushidoblog.com.ar Bushido

    Thanks for the info, Andy. I’m logging in right now to check it out!

  • http://www.alibiproductions.com/2007/09/20/why-i-read-marketing-pilgrim/ Drew Stauffer

    That event tracking is sweet.

  • http://www.thevanblog.com Steven Bradley

    Will Urchin offer enough more than Analytics to justify the price? Or will it be mostly Analytics on my desktop.

    I agree that for most Analytics is enough.

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  • http://www.netage.co.za Web Developer

    Based in South Africa, it takes so long to wait for Analytics to load. I was hoping for a desktop application that can load the data during the night and not on command.

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