Thursday, June 19, 2008

moving into to the cloud with Google Analytics

My experience with web statistics applications provides a good example of the move to cloud computing. Back in 2001, I recall painstakingly configuring our $900 copy of WebTrends desktop app and having to remember to download log files once a month. Then in the mid-2000s, we switched to the open source Webalizer, which conveniently is web-based and resided on our Linux server. Still, there was plenty of monkeying around with log files and cron jobs to get it to record the right data.

About a year ago, I got turned onto Google Analytics. It's powerful, super easy to configure and customize. It resides in the cloud. And its "free".

The usage pattern for the Watzek Library web site goes in pretty consistent waves, with troughs as the weekend approaches and and crests as the week starts.

Every hit on our website now gets registered on a Google server. So many sites are using Analytics now, it's amazing how much traffic and data Google is digesting. With "utility" services like Analytics, they are truly making themselves part of the basic infrastructure of the Internet. Their offer to host popular Javascript libraries fits into this as well.

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