For perhaps the first time, Google has been a victim of its own success and basically failed a product launch. Last week, they released Google Analytics, without the word “Beta” or any invite-only system in place. Like the other 200,000+ web site owners, I signed up and added the code to track my site stats. It politely informed me that the data would be collected and processed within 12 hours. More than a week later… nothing. Other people have reported varying degrees of success, but Google has now closed new signups and is still struggling to deal with the numbers. As they now say in their modified messaging when I log in:
The demand for Google Analytics surpassed even our highest expectations and as a result some customers may temporarily experience report-update delays. All data continues to be collected and no data has been lost. We are currently adding resources to ensure high-quality service. We apologize for any inconvenience.
If the enormously popular Google can’t even predict the success of one of their products (when every previous product has had fanatical following), then I would start to seriously wonder about Google’s sense of a larger vision. Or maybe Google should be a little more careful when rebranding and relaunching one of their acquisitions.
On that long-term vision note, last week’s article from Cringely, on Google’s fiber and data plans was quite interesting. Maybe they should have waited to have that infrastructure in place, before they decided to start processing traffic data for hundreds of thousands of websites. In the case of a stumble like this, we might see more people heading towards the smaller Mint or Measure Map.
And then there’s the question of what Google might do with all the Analytics data it collects. The obvious choice is to start tweaking it’s pagerank algorithms to give us better search results than ever. I have’t read the TOS closely, but I’m sure that option is in there. For that reason, I don’t think many large web companies will spring for the Analytics option, since it’s just too much information to be giving to a potential competitor. And right now, Google has poised itself to be a potential competitor to just about everything on the web.
Or, maybe you’re just tired of searching the web without getting anything back? Well, here’s an odd one: Blingo is a repackaging of Google’s search, but they offer up the chance at prizes with every search you make. Pyramid-scheme goodness, without any drawbacks?