The March of The Gentle Giant

On from Regular

If you follow the Web Analytics blogosphere, you already know about the new features of Google Analytics. If not, you can read what Robert Gorell, Avinash Kaushik, Robbin Steif, Manoj Jasra, Aurélie Pols, and Justin Cotroni have to say about it. It seems that Google is even releasing Urchin 6, the long awaited upgrade of the software version of Google Analytics, or at least the former name of the product before Google bought Urchin.

I do like GA a lot for some work I do, and I do dislike it a lot for some other type of work I am involved in. However, the goal of this post is not to discuss the product. It’s been done a lot.

No, today I am just wondering where Google Analytics will stop developing, or should it stop at all? I have asked elsewhere (see comment), and am asking again today, whether or not Google wants to be in the business of Web Analytics. There is a difference between providing a free (oops! subsidized) product that goes with your main one (Adwords), and developing one that has all possible functionalities under the sun. We know that the likes of Omniture, WebTrends, Visual Sciences, Coremetrics, and Unica are competing against each on just that. My widget has more and cooler whistles than yours. Which is perfectly fine, since it’s the name of the game in application markets.

Personally, I have absolutely nothing against Google Analytics becoming a product that would compete against the high-end ones, and offer all the present and foreseeable (i.e. data integration, etc.) features of those applications. GA could become an “enterprise class” product, and basically kick everybody else out of the market. Why not? I know that, for what I pay in Adwords, I’d love to get such a tool for practically nothing.

Needless to say how disruptive it would be.

And maybe “free” is the economics of the future.

I just would like to know to what extent the GA team wants to develop it. I know they are under no economical pressure whatsoever (i.e. GA is not treated as a P&L), and free to develop at will. It is very, very tempting in such context to just keep at it, code and continuously expand the product.

Again, I just would like to know. Is the Giant after the Big Ones?

2 responses to “The March of The Gentle Giant

  1. Google needs to keep developing Analytics so that its Adwords advertisers can have better reporting and thus better advertising campaign results.

    Of special interest for GA development is finding ways to measure (and therefore monetize) activities that are “brand building” as opposed to “transaction generating”, so that advertisers can measure and improve on and justify spending in ways that help capture mass media marketing spend.

  2. Hi Edward,

    Yes, I believe that was the whole idea behind Google buying a Web Analytics application; marketers would see for themselves how efficient Adwords was and be encouraged to purchase more keywords. In V1, there was a report called Keyword Considerations; strangely, it doesn’t show anymore.

    What you say about GA someday measuring “brand building” is quite interesting. Wouldn’t that be a formidable cash cow for Google?

    This brings me to my initial question: is Google in the business of Web Analytics, or not?

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