Google acquired Urchin Software Corp. in April 2005. The Google service was developed from Urchin on Demand. The system also brings ideas of Adaptive Path, whose product, Measure Map, was acquired and used in Google Analytics redesign in 2006. Google continued to sell Urchin Web Analytics standalone software through a network of value-added re-sellers until its discontinuation on March 28, 2012.
The Google version was released in November 2005 to anyone who wanted to sign up. However, due to extremely high demand for the service, new sign-ups were only suspended a week later. As capacity was added to the system, Google started using a model lottery-type invitation code. Prior to August 2006, Google was sending lots of invitation codes like the availability of allowed servers; since mid-August 2006 the service has been fully available to all users, whether they use Google for advertising or not.
The latest version of the Google Analytics tracking code is known as asynchronous tracking code, which Google claims to be significantly more responsive and accurate, and is able to track even very short activities on the website. The previous version slowed down the page load and therefore, for performance reasons, was usually placed just before the closing HTML tag of the body </ body>. The new code can be placed between the head tags <head> … </ head> because, once activated, it runs in parallel with the page load.
In April 2011, Google announced the availability of a new version of Google Analytics with multiple panels, more custom reporting options and a new interface design. This version was later updated with some other features such as real-time analytics and objective flowcharts.
In October 2012 the latest version of Google Analytics, called “Universal Analytics”, was announced. The main differences from previous versions were: cross-platform tracking, flexible tracking code to collect data from any device, and introduction of custom dimensions and custom metrics
In August 2013, Google Analytics was used by 66.2% of the 10,000 most popular websites ranked by popularity, Built With reported. And in May 2008, Pingdom published a survey stating that 161 of the 500 (32%) largest sites worldwide according to their Alexa rank were using Google Analytics.
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