Take a look at the Google Analytics chart to the right.
Now imagine yourself waking up one day to see your web site’s traffic taking such a dramatic drop.
Did you get banned by Google? Is your site down?
Nope! But everyone just opted out of Google Analytics–rendering your dashboard useless.
Far fetched? Not too much. Not when you consider that Google has decided to build a browser plugin that will allow web users to prevent their data being collected by Google Analytics.
Over the past year, we have been exploring ways to offer users more choice on how their data is collected by Google Analytics. We concluded that the best approach would be to develop a global browser based plug-in to allow users to opt out of being tracked by Google Analytics. Our engineers are now hard at work finalizing and testing this opt-out functionality. We look forward to make it globally available to our users in the coming weeks.
Say it with me: crap!
Why would Google cripple a product that doesn’t really reveal any personal information about a visitor to your site. OK, so in theory, you could track down an IP or network host and possibly string together their browsing habits and maybe figure out where they live, but does that warrant such a move?
What I don’t get is the double standards Google is displaying here. Basically, us site owners can’t be trusted with anonymous data, but Google can continue to invade a user’s privacy by keeping their search history? Where’s the plugin that lets me opt-out of Google keeping–and analyzing–my search history? Heck, there’s not even an easy way to opt-out of personalized search results!
C’mon Google. What’s good for us, is good for you. If you’re truly taking a stand on protecting a user’s privacy, let’s not keep one foot planted on a big ole rock of hypocrisy!