Microsoft Web Analytics the first real Google Analytics competitor

Last 09th of January Ian Thomas posted in his blog (Lies, Damned Lies… “The unpredictable world of online marketing and web analytics) a note called “the rumors are true, Microsoft ‘Gatineau’ exists” with he following disclaimer:

“None of the information in this blog post constitutes a commitment on Microsoft’s part to deliver any particular technology or service. Any and all of the information here is subject to change without notice”.

But what Microsoft Gatineau is?

Gatineau is the code-name for Microsoft’s forthcoming web analytics tool based on technology they acquired from DeepMetrix Corporation last year. Gatineau is the name of the Canadian city where DeepMetrix was based for a number of years. Final naming for the product is still unconfirmed.

But what and how good is the original DeepMetrix? This tool has nice graphs and has a bunch of information which allow basic users to get all what they need with no previews process. This also means less flexibility for professional users, don’t be fooled, they just join all the info together in one page. As for the “real time view of who’s online” as in another tools that’s fake (which one comes to your mind right know? Exactly.). Even if you ran updates every 5 minutes on log files, you would still only have info from the last time log data was sampled, many times a web site viewing/interaction can last under 2 minutes….those “Who’s On” pictures are just snapshots from the last time the logs were sampled…and for example the collector ran every 5 minutes but took almost 4 hours to sample through all sites logs (at best). So at best anyone using Deep Metrix saw data anywhere from 1-4 hours old with the Who’s On thing, but this is something that future Microsoft Analytics tools basic users will certainly love.

On the other hand setting up your websites takes pretty long time, so not a big deal if you have 2 or 3 websites but something that you will hate if you have hundreds of them.

Back to the ‘Gatineau’ project, “The version live now is early Alpha code developed for stability and proof-of-concept purposes. Many aspects of the system (in particular, the interface) will change dramatically between this version and the version we release” said Ian, which also mentioned their intention of launching this product during 2007 and he added “however, we’re extremely keen to avoid a repeat of Google’s experience with Google Analytics, so we will be ramping up our user numbers gradually to make sure everyone has a good experience from a performance perspective”.

The Microsoft web analytics tool is focused on the same target as Google Analytics so they are directly and openly trying to get their market share. Even when I was digging a lot about it I couldn’t find more than some screenshots without any functionality so I wouldn’t confirm (even when I’m positive about it) that they will develop a similar front end (with all the pros and cons) of Google Analytics.

The biggest killer feature yet for Gatineau, is the demographic data on your website visitors. If someone comes to your site logged into their Windows Live ID, Microsoft will use their own data on that person in your analytics report. You won’t have access to the Live ID date, or know who it was that visited, but Microsoft will give you aggregate stats like gender, age, that sort of thing, stats you absolutely can’t get anywhere else.

Ian finish his post saying “I can already feel our legal folks breathing down my neck.”.

Apparently Google Analytics is not alone, in my opinion this have to produce two important changes in the industry, a decreasing in the big players costs (Omniture, webtrends, coremetrics, etc) and will allow defining tracking standards.

If you wants to participate and trial the beta version as soon as Microsoft lunch it contact Ian here.

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