I was on client calls most of the day, and when I came up for air in the afternoon to check my RSS reader and Tweetdeck to see what what going on in the world I made a fascinating discovery. Like many of you I came across the following post from the Google Analytics Blog:
This was most unexpected, and my Thursday suddenly got alot more interesting.
Before we go any further let me state that I have not been briefed by Google on this news item. This post is purely based on my own initial thoughts on the matter.
The blog post announces Google's plans to release a browser plug-in that would allow consumers to opt-out of Google Analytics tracking. This offering is still in development, and the post offers no specifics on the release date, although it implies that this is only weeks away.
(Side note: It is also interesting to note the language used in the post. The post leads with "As an enterprise-class web analytics solution..." This isn't a surprising or entirely inappropriate assertion, but it strongly implies Google's aspirations for GA.)
There are many reasons why Google's course of action is counterintuitive. Naturally, the marketer in me recoils at the idea of voluntarily allowing measurable data to slip through our hands. Rationalizing web analytics data is already hard enough, and now this? And we can certainly debate the true privacy impact of web analytics on consumers.
I swore that I was not going to say anything further. I really, really tried, but I'm going to have to throw away the little plastic medal that says, "Two Weeks And No Buzz." Here's a must-read quote that a colleague forwarded to me:
So why exactly did Google Buzz launch with some key social features missing? Jackson said that while Google employees were testing out the product internally, they never had much desire to mute any of their coworkers, and that their email contact list closely matched the people they wanted to follow on Buzz. Obviously, that wasn’t true for most people once the product was released outside of the Googleplex. Which is why Google is considering pre-releasing new Buzz features to a few thousand opt-in users long before they’re rolled out to the public.
The short version: "It worked for us inside the firewall, so we never thought it'd have a problem outside the firewall." Of course, an enterprise collaboration tool is a wholly different kind of solution than a social networking tool, so the requirements for the former do not completely cover the latter.