Google released the latest version of Urchin (the “mother” of Google Analytics) to the public yesterday, so I couldn’t help myself – but to try the urchin software download, use it and review.
Below you will find my preliminary findings and conclusions.
1. Urchin Software? Log Files? Why?
When the reach of Google Analytics penetration use gets frightening numbers, and where Google keeps claiming they want to give it for free – one may ask – Why?
In the well known SWOT marketing model (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats model to analyze Micro vs. Macro marketing environment of a product), we try to find our weaknesses and either hide them with our strengths, or simply improve them.
Google analytics has many advantages, but also quite a few disadvantages such as:
A. Security & Privacy – Data is stored on 3rd party thus presents security issues
B. Ability to get historical data – use of tags means you are analyzing the data you collect from the day you start collecting via the tool – not a second before that. Log files enable you to analyze back and forth with no dependancy on a vendor.
With their current release, Google is fighting these very two obstacles which prevents them from being accepted as a mid-market analytics solution.
Will it succeed? Time will tell…
2. Urchin Software Beta – Installation
Okay, so as we speak I already had one of my team members try out the software (he wasn’t impressed at all) so I decided I must do it on my own.
So I went ahead to the Urchin Download Page and started the 191 MB download.
Obstacle #1 – Must have MySQL database installed. Will now go about to download and install it… (bummer…22 MB more…)
After the MySQL installation (went prety smoothly, but I hardly think it’s applicable for non-techi users) and the loooong Urchin software installation – I got to my own http://localhost:9999 (don’t click…) server and started to configure a profile.
The profile went pretty well, until I inserted the log files and requested the analysis. For the record, I chose my 6 month old baby girl’s blog (http://www.yulicohen.com ) which hasn’t updated in a while and has minimal traffic (which is mainly parents, grandparents etc…certainly no PPC here…) I came accross:
Obstacle #2 – This application almost killed my laptop
Actually, for a period of close to 30 minutes, urchin stole 581MB of ram!!! (look at the screenshot) blocking me from doing anything. I’m scared to think what wouldhave happened If I put a real commercial web site log files in there… not a pretty sight…
3. Urchin Software User Interface
The UI is very similar the the good old urchin. I couldn’t see much news there. It’s also kinda slow. Most of the nifty Google Analytics Ajax UI is not utilized.
I can go much deeper into the features, filters, ecommerce / PPC integrations etc. but I think at this point I can stop and conclude:
A. Strategically, Google has made an important move towards the mid-market web analitics niche.
B. This move is very small, very thin – enough to send the message to the industry ‘we’re here” and can generally be related to thoughts such as Commerce360’s Craig Danuloff post .
C. In order for Google to really win the mid-market share, they will ned to improve Urchin in a way which will really stand out. From what I’ve seen, most Analytics packages out there may easily beat it up.
I will follow up and update soonest…