Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Google Analytics: More choice for users



We created Google Analytics to help website owners aggregate and analyze their traffic so they can improve and update their sites. Like traffic pattern reports tell you about traffic on a highway or street, Google Analytics provides general trends for a website (numbers of visitors, average time spent on one page) without revealing any personally identifiable information.

Even though Google Analytics doesn’t reveal personal information, we believe in giving users more choice and control whenever possible. So today we’re excited to launch the beta version of our new opt-out for Google Analytics. Now, you can download and install an add-on for your desktop browser that will stop data from being sent from your computer when you visit websites that use Google Analytics Javascript to track usage. This means the information from your visit will not be sent to Google Analytics or included in its reports.

We hope this option will give users even more choices when online. For more information on user choices when using Google Analytics, check out this overview. And for information on other Google efforts to provide you with choice and control, check out the Google Privacy Center.

30 comments:

shanmuga said...

Do that for Adsense First!!!

Christopher Hiatt said...

Interesting step for privacy. I'm assuming this doesn't opt you out of Google monitoring your browsing habits.

jacksaidwhat said...

Well... I think that first comment says it all.

HM2K said...

Or just block www.google-analytics.com and google-analytics.com using your hosts file.

See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hosts_file

WinVistaClub said...

Wont accuracy suffer?

Antony said...

Why do we have to install something to disable something else?

Why not just use cookie to disable tracking like http://www.networkadvertising.org/managing/opt_out.asp ?

Roger said...

I think this is a great ideia to prevent some evil countries from monitores the web in a evil-non-Google way.

kat said...

This now makes google analytics useless.. If we are unable to trust the figures and use them why bother?

I can see many people finding a different method / using inbuilt methods now instead of google analytics.

kurmen said...

This is good. Thank you.

Aurelio said...

I think this is not so great idea. On one hand there's more privacy ( not so much...we can't identify anyone using Analytics ) on the other hand this might make Analytics useless.

mail said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
mail said...

How crazy - more choice for web browsers, less reliable data for analytics users.

Considering the most important information is sent to and can be logged by your web servers, this seems pretty pointless and will become a reason not to use Google analytics. Everyone will eventually start using other means of tracking their users and Google will no longer be able to analyse web traffic, serve the most targeted ads and make money in the same way it has before.

99% of the time the data is used to enhance your browsing experience so its only the users that will suffer.

Etienne Dupuis said...

Why spend resources and time on this.. I dont see any good reason to do this, but I see a couple bad.

Okestra said...

I now see no reason to use Google Analytics now, as I can't trust my numbers. I guess I will now have to really solely on data provided by my domain host.

your-web-guy said...

Agreed... not seeing a good reason to use analytics now. The road to hell is paved eith Good intentions. Like this

Zaid said...

This doesn't make any sense. The data is already anonymouse and can only be viewed by website owner to track site performance. Where is the privacy issue??? Also this same data is logged at the website server so you are not hiding anything.

You are making a great analytics tool less acurate therefore less useful.

Amgine said...

I've been doing this for years with FireFox and AdBlock Plus. Oddly enough, I trust that combination to completely prevent information harvesting much more than I trust a tool from Google which purports to do the same.

Sergio Muñoz Sarmiento said...

This is the stupidest idea. This is what we get when we push the "privacy" issue too far. Google has just rendered Analytics useless.

And I agree. The first comment says it all.

pvradu said...

I agree with the useless situation. Because if users can opt-out of it, then the statistics shown in Google Analytics will be fake, not showing up everything you want to know to improve your website content..

Kosanya said...

Index this site

http://kosanya.wordpress.com/

AC said...

After installing this and preventing the sites I visit that depend upon my traffic metrics to survive/make money from knowing I (anonymously!) ever visited, I think I'll start carrying a can of mace to spray at anybody who even glances at me on the subway. My privacy is too important. Thanks Google for setting the bar! I'm sure Zuckerberg thanks you too.

RandallS said...

So why should a site owner bother using Google Analytics now? This is a cynical ploy by Google for good PR, since GA does not reveal any personal info to the site owner, while all of Google's other tracking (in search, adsense, etc) is much more likely to get tied to individuals and compromise their privacy.

Google - if you really care about privacy, make this tool opt a person out of ALL Google tracking including IP number association with all searches (within minutes of completing the search if you feel that IP will give user better custom results at time of search).

Thomas said...

Completely terrible move. Woopra is starting to look really good.

Tiger said...

What is Google doing here? As my Analytics Data is slowly but surely useless! As one can immediately estimate the number of users, is perhaps more accurately!

Pete said...

I had to double check that it wasn't April 1st when hearing this news.

We all know that Google have taken a bit of a hammering regarding privacy recently in the browser wars & was guilty of retaining personal data from their street view outings.

However, is this really an answer, this seems to be a knee jerk - PR friendly action.

If we cannot trust Google analytics data as being accurate then we are encouraged to purchase other paid third party solutions.

lets hope this just stays in Beta.

dan said...

great PR for PC. Now if the same people who made this decision could use their influence to promote the recycling of old websites. We've gotta do something since they take up so much landfill space. You know what they say, "a frivolous decision is better than no decision." This reminds me that this generation was not around during the "new coke" strategy. How much more perfectly does the wheel need to roll? Do the higher ups make decisions just to justify their existence? What's wrong with enjoying the ride as it exist?

Geffá Felipe said...

I think this plug-in is part of global domination. It will get the data directly from your browsers to Skynet Ser..., I mean, Google Servers.

David said...

I think Google Analytics Opt-out Browser Add-on should have been released a long time ago. Good that it has come now and I am sure a lot of internet users are going to use it. Visit my blog - Techchai.com to read some more interesting facts.

Brian said...

Hi all,

A few folks on this thread expressed concern about Google Analytics accuracy suffering as a result of the new opt-out. And I wanted to give everyone a few more details because we fully believe our reports will continue to offer the same level of value and accuracy our users have come to expect.

Though we don't know how many people will eventually opt-out, if you compare this with similar features I think it's safe to assume only a miniscule fraction of users will probably choose to do so. One example is our Ads Preferences Manager. Of the millions and millions of users, we’ve seen maybe tens of thousands of users visit the site every week. And of those select users, only 1 person out of 15 who visit actually opts out.

We want to provide users with the option to opt-out where appropriate, but we will still work to ensure Google Analytics remains the best product it can be.

For those that are interested, here's an interesting blog that offers some additional commentary.

-Brian Richardson, Google

Aurelio said...

Dear Brian,

the link to Ads Preferences Manager dosen't work. Please, can you fix it?
Thank you.