Google's other opt-out
The real surprising news from Google this week had little to do with China (that little skirmish was heavily discussed in the online blogs back in January). This week's announcement of a user opt-out for Google Analytics left many people wondering if the way that they look at web usage will soon change. Anil Batra offered a quick look at how the opt-out plug-in will work. The downside reaction was led by Marketing Pilgrim, who felt that the move could cripple GA numbers and wondered aloud why web owners could not be trusted with anonymous data if Google was okay with storing personal search histories.
Upon further analysis many bloggers predicted that GA and its 80% market share would not trend rapidly downhill. Forrester's Joe Stanhope offered some practical advice and reason, including the theory that the opt-in users might be better prospects. SEOMoz was one of several voices who pointed out that most users won't install a plug-in and that true privacy freaks could avoid GA through other means. They also added the thought that Google has a backup plan in mind just in case the opt-out craze went viral. The blog Web Analytics Demystified offered the theory that the whole thing was just another instance of Google taking on a large nation state -- Google is now pushing GA into large US government websites and the additional privacy control would be a necessary check off for approval.