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Google Analytics gets a makeover

Google has revamped its Analytics Web usage monitoring service

Google has revamped Google Analytics, improving and expanding the data reporting capabilities of the Web site usage monitoring service.

Products such as Google Analytics continue to rise in importance as companies strive to understand how people arrive at their Web sites and what they do once they are there.

Knowing that helps webmasters make their sites more effective tools for displaying online ads, providing sales leads and generating e-commerce transactions.

Google entered the Web analysis market a little over two years ago when it acquired Urchin, whose technology forms the basis for the Analytics service.

The overall goal of this upgrade is to make the product more intuitive to use and its data clearer and easier to digest, so that it can be used effectively to make business decisions, said Brett Crosby, Google Analytics senior manager.

To that end, the user interface has been redesigned to be more intuitive and the product has gained new ways of presenting Web usage information and of displaying and delivering reports, he said. Google has also added what it calls "plain language" descriptions of the data, to make it more understandable.

The American Cancer Society, a Google Analytics user for about 18 months, tested the new version of the service for the past month and found it offered significant improvements, said Adam Pellegrini, the group's online strategy director.

In particular, being able to schedule the automatic creation and e-mail delivery of reports has been a big help for the group's two Google Analytics staffers, who previously needed to manually reformat reports into PDF (Portable Document Format) files and send them out via e-mail, he said.

Pellegrini would like Google to add the capability to deliver Analytics reports and notifications via RSS (Really Simple Syndication) content syndication, as well as create a rich desktop application so Analytics can be used offline as well.

Google will begin rolling out the Google Analytics upgrade on Tuesday, and it expects to finish it in a few weeks, Crosby said.