May 08, 2007

Google Analytics Looks Good; Google Accounts Don't

I've been working on a little side project (not quite ready for launch), and I recently came to the point where I need to pick a web analytics product. The project will, eventually, be supported by ads and so I care quite a bit about being able to track exactly how many visitors I have and what they're doing.

Regular readers will recall that I've written a decent amount about web analysis software. On a regular basis, I use ClickTracks, Mint, and MeasureMap (all for different sites, in different contexts). None are exactly ideal for what I wanted here, but each is a decent option.

Unlike at work, I think I'm comfortable with a hosted solution in this situation. But, I wanted some sort of notification system built in. I love MeasureMap's daily RSS feed, but it doesn't seem like many products have that sort of thing built in. Anyway, I started to do a little analysis of each of the likely candidates in the free/cheap market space.

Then, today comes word that Google revised their Analytics product. And, even better, it was the team behind MeasureMap that did the work. Long story short, the revision looks great, and it made choosing to go with Google a no-brainer. This is really, really impressive work, from a UI perspective. For more details see: Google Blog, Jeff Veen, and Avinash Kaushik (the last one being a very in-depth look at the changes). Really, go check this out.

Okay, enough gushing. Here's where I do a bit of whining. You see, I'm already using the Google Apps for Business service to manage the email for this little side project (at my domain). So, logic would dictate that I could use that account to sign up for Analytics, right?? If you said "yes", you'd be wrong. I'm unable to create an Analytics account with the the Apps account. So, I'm forced to create a *new* Google account for the Analytics. Meaning that I have now have two Google accounts. One wonders if Google has all of this infrastructure stuff figured out yet... (Of course, maybe I'm missing something obvious...let me know if I am!!)