Google CHARGING for software? Urchin upgrade

February 1, 2008

Google CHARGING for software? Urchin upgrade Google Analytics provides a great way for web site owners to keep track of where visitors are going on their sites, and it’s free. Its brother Urchin is getting a facelift, and Google is actually asking customers to pay for the upgrade.

On its Analytics blog, Google just announced a public beta of Urchin 6. “Urchin Software from Google is a web analytics product similar in scope to Google Analytics, except you install and manage the software on your own servers.”

Building on an already solid solution, Google points out these key upgrades with Urchin 6:

- More accurate geo-identification of visitors
- Cross-segmentation options similar to Google Analytics
- E-commerce and campaign tracking included (no longer requiring additional modules)
- Vastly improved embedded scheduler to more easily manage processing and re-processing jobs
- Improved user interface
- More robust log processing engine

Screenshot of Urchin interface

Why use Urchin instead of just putting the Google Analytics script on your pages?

- It allows you to store statistical data locally, if you’re uncomfortable with Google hosting that information
- Though a small percentage, some folks don’t have JavaScript enabled. Server logs catch that missed traffic. Of course, they also capture traffic from various search engine bots so some filtering might be necessary.
- Companies with sites hosted behind firewalls sometimes run into issues with a JavaScript call trying to burrow outside its network. Urchin is an installed solution so all calls can stay within the network.
- Urchin easily integrates with Google Analytics

The beta version is free for 90 days then will be available for about $3,000. Add that to the list of other software Google offers and Microsoft’s business model seems a lot less antiquated.

Here’s a short list (not comprehensive):

- AdWords
- Google Apps
- Google Search Appliance
- Google Checkout
- Urchin

Even though its products are mostly web-based, Google is expanding into the business of of selling software licenses, and it commands the vast majority of search traffic on the web which could be used to market its products. Powerful indeed.

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