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Google Analytics API Goes Public

kdawson posted more than 5 years ago | from the get-your-hot-data dept.

Google 52

stoolpigeon writes "Google has announced the now public beta for the Google Analytics API (described here). The API lets developers create client applications that can pull analytics data, to mash it up with other data or to present it in new ways. The API has been available through a private beta program for about a year, and some applications are already out there: examples include Polaris on Adobe Air and Analytics for Android."

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I have no idea what analytics are (-1, Offtopic)

Gizzmonic (412910) | more than 5 years ago | (#27702965)

But hey, wanna go to the mall with me? Let's like, get an Orange Julius and I can show you these awesome legwarmers that are on sale at MerriGoRound. It'll be totally killer!

Signed, Gwen

Shame (1)

neoform (551705) | more than 5 years ago | (#27702977)

It's a shame they don't open source the code that drives the analytics.. That'd be sweet.

Re:Shame (3, Interesting)

vux984 (928602) | more than 5 years ago | (#27703337)

It's a shame they don't open source the code that drives the analytics.. That'd be sweet.

But it wouldn't give them access to all the traffic on your site (and everyone elses that uses their analytics.) I was pretty pissed when they bought urchin (the company that made what is now 'google analytics') because they the first thing google did was prevent you from hosting the analytics yourself.

On that note is there a good FOSS analytics package, preferably one that works well cross platform?

Re:Shame (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27703433)

I was pretty pissed when they bought urchin (the company that made what is now 'google analytics') because they the first thing google did was prevent you from hosting the analytics yourself.

No, that's still available: http://www.google.com/urchin/index.html

Re:Shame (1)

vux984 (928602) | more than 5 years ago | (#27703905)

No, that's still available: http://www.google.com/urchin/index.html [google.com]

Cool. That's good to know. Thanks for correcting me.

Re:Shame (1)

RyanPMcBride (1542227) | more than 5 years ago | (#27735045)

I don't believe it's open source, but Shaun Inman's "Mint" (www.haveamint.com) is user-hosted. And quite pretty to look at, as well.

Re:Shame (4, Informative)

eareye (1454819) | more than 5 years ago | (#27703819)

On that note is there a good FOSS analytics package, preferably one that works well cross platform?

One open source alternative to Google Analytics is Piwik [piwik.org] .

Re:Shame (1)

sherriw (794536) | more than 5 years ago | (#27704977)

I used the piwik software before it was renamed to piwik. At that time it was quite clunky doing all kinds of background calculations and it's totals didn't add up. Wasn't impressed. I wonder if it's been improved since then.

Re:Shame (2)

RoFLKOPTr (1294290) | more than 5 years ago | (#27705085)

I wonder if it's been improved since then.

Piwik has gotten some much-needed usability improvements in the past couple months. It is still very obviously beta software, but everything is working much better. I've been using Piwik since last October or so after trying Google Analytics, Statcounter, and Open Web Analytics. They also have Wordpress and MediaWiki plugins so you don't have to go around editing templates. I'm really impressed with how much they've improved lately.

Re:Shame (1)

sherriw (794536) | more than 5 years ago | (#27705949)

Good to know. Thanks for the update.

Re:Shame (1)

Verdatum (1257828) | more than 5 years ago | (#27707695)

My first thought upon reading this comment: "Hey that's great! It must have been one of the Google Summer of Code projects!" I suppose I need sleep :)

Re:Shame (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27709905)

You switched because they renamed it to 'piwik'? Can't blame you. Means penis in Danish.

Re:Shame (1)

sherriw (794536) | more than 5 years ago | (#27704841)

I've been looking for a good FOSS php analytics suite and what's out there is so crappy I've toyed with making one myself. Time is my barrier though.

Re:Shame (4, Funny)

Frankie70 (803801) | more than 5 years ago | (#27703509)

Google paid around 30 Million Dollars for buying Urchin Software whose product it originally was.
Maybe if you could buy that division from Google & open source it. That'd be sweet.

A method for offloading processor useage (4, Insightful)

Crudely_Indecent (739699) | more than 5 years ago | (#27702999)

The clients now perform the rendering and Google need only provide the raw data. It's brilliant and a great move. As applications are written, refined and adopted, Google will benefit from the reduced load of the rendering servers. Their bandwidth usage would probably go down as well.

Re:A method for offloading processor useage (2, Informative)

soniCron88 (870042) | more than 5 years ago | (#27703259)

Google's interface for Analytics data visualization is done with Flash, so their servers aren't rendering anything right now, anyway.

Re:A method for offloading processor useage (0)

Crudely_Indecent (739699) | more than 5 years ago | (#27703363)

They're rendering plenty of HTML.

Re:A method for offloading processor useage (1)

Thadd.Isolas (936888) | more than 5 years ago | (#27703613)

Your browser is rendering the HTML, not google.

Re:A method for offloading processor useage (1)

derGoldstein (1494129) | more than 5 years ago | (#27703645)

I think he meant that google needs to take the raw data, parse it, and place it into markup structures. At least, this particular aspect will be removed from the process.

Re:A method for offloading processor useage (2)

derGoldstein (1494129) | more than 5 years ago | (#27703577)

Their bandwidth usage would probably go down as well.

Actually, I'm willing to bet it'll go up. They're giving people the ability to create their own interfaces to GA, ones that likely pull more data per-instance in order to allow the app to visualize things like comparative graphs/charts, as well as trends.

These new apps will only be pulling raw data, this is true, but why would you want to use/create an app that allows you to play around with *less* information than their site already allows. It's more likely that one of the bigger uses for this will be for power-users, which will want to suck as much data and throw it on as much monitor real-estate as it can.

Re:A method for offloading processor useage (1)

Crudely_Indecent (739699) | more than 5 years ago | (#27703799)

In the current configuration, Google must render pages, so those power users are pulling (this is a guesstimate) 70% HTML, CSS and Javascript. Well built applications would retrieve data at appropriate intervals. Refreshing the page on Google Analytics doesn't result in new information displayed until their system posts the next batch of incoming data.

At least for the current method of use (to analyze and visualize your traffic data), their resource requirements should go down.

Re:A method for offloading processor useage (1)

derGoldstein (1494129) | more than 5 years ago | (#27703951)

Most, if not all, of the .css and .js files are cached. Moreover, some of the page structures are cached through JS DOM building (it just needs the new data, the structure is created on-the-fly).

You could hammer the servers and keep requesting new versions of the css and js files, but barring that, only the part of the page that changes should need refreshing.

Obviously, that's an ideal situation, but even in real-world use many of the static files won't require reloading unless you keep clearing the browser cache.

Re:A method for offloading processor useage (1)

sootman (158191) | more than 5 years ago | (#27709065)

The clients now perform the rendering and Google need only provide the raw data. It's brilliant and a great move.

Until the users discover /var/log/httpd/. :-)

Google Analytics? (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27703001)

Is that the thing that makes a lot of web pages take forever to load?

Re:Google Analytics? (5, Funny)

Crudely_Indecent (739699) | more than 5 years ago | (#27703119)

No way, you're thinking of another app, Google Maps.

Re:Google Analytics? (1)

Keyper7 (1160079) | more than 5 years ago | (#27703683)

Was. At least for nowadays it is now the thing that is blocked by NoScript on a lot of web pages.

Re:Google Analytics? (1)

Keyper7 (1160079) | more than 5 years ago | (#27703869)

At least for nowadays it is now

Yeah, doesn't make sense, I know. Clicked on the submit button instead of the edit one.

Re:Google Analytics? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27704741)

Totally make it senseto me. :-)

Re:Google Analytics? (1)

derGoldstein (1494129) | more than 5 years ago | (#27703785)

You can solve that, at least if you're the one hosting the page: dojox.analytics.Urchin [dojocampus.org]

Re:Google Analytics? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27704075)

That's why I've put it into my hosts file redirecting it to 0.0.0.0. Not because of its perceived privacy invasion but because many of the hotspots I use have really slow DNS resolution. Every lookup not performed saves two seconds.

Re:Google Analytics? (2, Informative)

Lord Ender (156273) | more than 5 years ago | (#27704567)

You are correct. Install firebug, and watch the net chart it generates. The page will load, then you will wait another second or so before google-analytics loads and you can actually use your browser.

Re:Google Analytics? (1)

POWRSURG (755318) | more than 5 years ago | (#27705211)

Honestly, I believe Google is trying to piss people off with Google Analytics. First the code that they present that every developer just copies and pastes because Google tells them to loads the code in a blocking manner, and then a little while back they have turned off gzip compression so they file took even longer to transfer. Heck, I'd forgive them for the second if they would at least update the code they tell developers to copy and paste to load GA in a non-blocking manner. Yeah, it's a bit more code to tell developers to add to their pages, but the improved user experience makes it worth the extra few bytes. All you need to do is create a script element with the src attribute pointing to the URL for the via JavaScript, append the DOM node to the head, and then create a timer that checks to see if the GA code has finished transferring (which you'll know by testing to see if _gat is undefined) before you run initialize your tracking code, then kill the timer.

Re:Google Analytics? (1)

protactin (206817) | more than 5 years ago | (#27707091)

Or they could probably just use the "defer" attribute on the script tag.

Re:Google Analytics? (1)

POWRSURG (755318) | more than 5 years ago | (#27707451)

  1. Defer, though being a part of the HTML 4.01 spec [w3.org] , is only supported by IE. And even if other browsers supported it they could not use it because they need to know that the content had been loaded before they execute the tracking code.
  2. The vast majority of developers just copy and paste the code as given. This code is an internal script tag that derives the protocol that is currently being used to then refer to the HTTP or HTTPS file using document.write, and then a second internal script tag that starts the tracking using your unique id while inside of a try/catch block.

Re:Google Analytics? (1)

protactin (206817) | more than 5 years ago | (#27707681)

Ah, didn't realise only IE supported defer!

I never quite understood the HTTP/S detection, as I would have thought it'd be simpler to do "//google-analytics.com/..." (i.e. no explicit protocol). Though again I don't know what standard, if any, defines that behaviour. But if it is/was standard, then you could have a single script block. But of course, as you say, developers who call _gat from elsewhere (such as myself) would have to know when the content had loaded. So, er yeah.. forget all of that! :)

I guess inconsistent browser is also why they disabled gzip support? Though I would have thought it would be trivial to Vary by User-Agent.

If only they'd release the collection code... (2, Insightful)

oneiros27 (46144) | more than 5 years ago | (#27703087)

Due to US government privacy policies, we're not allowed to 'share information with third parties' which makes all hosted analytics solutions forbidden.

the complete API reference (1)

viralMeme (1461143) | more than 5 years ago | (#27703289)

"If only they'd release the collection code..."

Yea, how is anyone supposed to figure out how to use it with only the complete API reference [blogspot.com]

Re:the complete API reference (1)

vux984 (928602) | more than 5 years ago | (#27703371)

Yea, how is anyone supposed to figure out how to use it with only the complete API reference

That is beside the point. He wants to HOST the analytics himself so google doesn't have access to all the raw analytics data.

Re:the complete API reference (2, Interesting)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 5 years ago | (#27703959)

That is beside the point. He wants to HOST the analytics himself so google doesn't have access to all the raw analytics data.

Its not completely beside the point; while clearly opening the API doesn't help that as directly as opening the engine would, with the API available (and apps using it already) and incentive is created for independent implementations of the API, as well. So this is probably, in the long term, good for people who want to self-host analytics without building their own from scratch.

Re:If only they'd release the collection code... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27703469)

...but that's the whole point of analytics.

You get your site statistics, and google gets your site statistics.

Re:If only they'd release the collection code... (3, Informative)

Alex Zepeda (10955) | more than 5 years ago | (#27704919)

So host it yourself. http://www.google.com/urchin/download.html [google.com] .

Re:If only they'd release the collection code... (2, Informative)

lavalamp (212149) | more than 5 years ago | (#27705059)

More info about Urchin here, it definitely still exists. v6.6 is currently in beta.

http://www.urchintools.com/ [urchintools.com]

Re:If only they'd release the collection code... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27720073)

With the software version you are limited to log analysis - by the way poor analytics compared to commercial solutions.

see http://www.google.com/urchin/faq.html#urchin_analytics_differences

Re:If only they'd release the collection code... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27705431)

This policy should happen across every business too. Thank GOD my government didn't do this stupid thing. OTOH, is there anything that prevents all government agencies from sharing cyber infrastructure work and software development? Beyond inter-agency politics?

I think it is just crazy to give google your raw data for free. Not only that, but many of your customers don't like google having access to their browsing at your site. Data on 1 site isn't really that big of an issue for me, but since GoogleAnalytics is used by 50+% of the web hosts, now google can track your browsing almost everywhere. Not good, IMHO.

Re:If only they'd release the collection code... (1)

WebmasterNeal (1163683) | more than 5 years ago | (#27707203)

From whitehouse.gov img alt="DCSIMG" id="DCSIMG" width="1" height="1" src="http://statse.webtrendslive.com/dcs0l9nq800000ctek411lue6_2c8b/njs.gif?dcsuri=/nojavascript&WT.js=No&DCS.dcscfg=1&WT.tv=8.6.0"

By the same token (1)

Itsik (191227) | more than 5 years ago | (#27703247)

Would the reduced bandwidth lead to lower revenue??

Yawn, datamining. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27703365)

No, thanks. While you guys are studying the corn kernels in my poop and trying to guess what I might order for lunch, I'll be right over there evolving.

Beta? (2, Funny)

kevin98055 (983155) | more than 5 years ago | (#27703593)

And by "Beta", do we mean "RTM"?

Get Clicky (1)

wohlford (199797) | more than 5 years ago | (#27704153)

I'm a hugh fan of Clicky [getclicky.com] . The big difference with Google Analytics and Clicky is real-time stats and very good customer service. And, yes, they have an API [getclicky.com]

Whew! (1)

Povno (1460131) | more than 5 years ago | (#27704621)

You had me for a second I thought this was about Gmail...
But it is still scheduled to be in beta for at least the rest of eternity.
We can all relax now.

privacy concerns? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27706463)

$ cat /etc/hosts
# disable google analytics snoopware
127.0.0.1 google-analytics.com

Obligatory joke (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27707171)

> Google Analytics API Goes Public

IPO, IPO, IPO!

;-)

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