Google updates Analytics service, unveils Urchin beta

Google Analytics adds internal search; Urchin update aimed at disgruntled users

Google is set to roll out new features to its Google Analytics service and a beta release of Version 5 of the Web analytics server software gained with its acquisition of Urchin Software two and half years ago.

Google Tuesday is set to announce that site search and event tracking features will be added to its Google Analytics software within the next few weeks.

The site search tool is designed to apply Google-like features to searches of internal Web sites, said Brett Crosby, senior manager of Google Analytics. The search tool will allow Web site operators to identify keywords, categories, products and trends across time and user segments to help companies measure the effectiveness of the site and marketing efforts, he added.

"We see that as a gold mine of data," Crosby said. "Every one of those searches is basically a vote by your visitors telling you what they are looking for on your Web site. You can start to get an idea beyond just what is driving people to your site, what they are looking for when they are already there. If you're not providing people the results they are looking for, they are off to another Web site."

Site searches also track internal search patters to determine how searches affect site usage, e-commerce activities and conversion rates. The new feature works with Google Custom Search, Google Search Appliance, Google Mini and many non-Google site search products, Crosby said.

The new event tracking feature will help companies more accurately measure how visitors are using interactive Web site elements like Asynchronous JavaScript and XML (AJAX), JavaScript, Flash movies, page gadgets and other multimedia tools, Crosby added.

The availability of a limited beta version of an update to Google's packaged Urchin analytics software is also slated to be announced today. The update includes a new Google Analytics user interface, Crosby noted.

In recent weeks, some Urchin users have complained about delays in releasing Version 6 of Urchin, contending that Google appears to be focusing more on Google Analytics than Urchin. Crosby acknowledged that the update to Version 5 aims to appease those users.

The update to Version 5 includes tools to assist in migrating configurations and data from previous versions of Urchin, Google said. Current Urchin users with advanced support programs can get the upgrade to Urchin Software for free, Crosby noted. Version 5 users without advanced support are eligible for discounts, he added.

For new users, Version 5 with the updates is priced at US$2,995 for new users, Crosby said.

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