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Google's Web Analytics

Google, that paragon of market-breaking technology, has begun giving away its Web analytics services.
Google, that paragon of market-breaking technology, has begun giving away its Web analytics services.Urchin, as Google Analytics is also known, comes with nowhere near the same level of capabilities as the tools sold by WebSideStory, Omniture or others. The product, which Google acquired in May, is built more for small firms that don't want to spend a lot for relatively simple capabilities.

But Google, which is eyed warily now by everyone from Microsoft and Wal-Mart to the publishing industry, will raise eyebrows by handing over its functionality free of charge. Vendors don't give something if they don't expect to get something back. Google has got to know that if it can get the small firms accustomed to its interface now, it can expand its client base down the line -- both when those small firms get bigger, and perhaps with added functionality sold to larger organizations down the line.

Urchin's dashboards provide insight into online marketing, referral links and other sources. More advanced integration and customization is available for a fee.

For a full set of reviews of Web analytics tools, including Urchin and some of its more advanced rivals, see this set of reviews from Network Computing.