Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Google Analytics

Google keeps trying to impress me.

As an underemployed, former pundit, I like free stuff (I like open source stuff even more, but that's fodder for another blog). When I heard that Google was jumping into the web site analytics biz with a free analytics tool, I just had to look into it.

My favorite analytics tool has been IndexTools for years. There is no shortage of tools and methods for tracking web site visitors, but I found the argument in favor of browser-driven analytics compelling, by comparison to the many log-driven tools, and IndexTools gives me just the kind of reports I like to see... in near real-time. But IndexTools can be expensive for web site operators on very limited budgets, so Google Analytics made just the right offer... I had to try it.

I was underwhelmed.

Registering is easy, and the account that gives access to most Google services gives access to Google Analytics. Tell them the URL of the site and some basic contact information, agree to their EULA, and they give you a few lines of JavaScript to put in the page headers of the pages you wish to track. So far so good.

I plugged the code into about 20 pages of a site, including the home page, and following the instructions, told Google Analytics to check the status of the service.

Boing. Tracking Unknown.

It seems Google can't see the code on the page. Countless times I verified it, and countless times it failed. I see the code, in the right pace, when I look at the page source through my browser, but Google still can't find it. I wrote a note to Google tech support, and some hours later have no answer.

I'll keep checking, and I'll let you know if/when Google Analytics starts working. So far, however, this appears to be one market where the existing services don't need to panic yet.

I'll say this much, though: Google will eventually get it right, and Microsoft will probably follow along, not far behind (isn't it Microsoft that has a stake in MyComputer.com?), so the existing services will want to get off their laurels and grab some market share while they can.

1 comment:

Ro Halfhide said...

I have the same trouble. So it's not me, bu google who made the mistake...