Google recently announced the release of Urchin version 6, the first new release of the highly popular analytics package since Google acquired the independent Urchin in 2005.
While Urchin on Demand became Google Analytics, and was developed extensively by Google, Urchin customers waited for a new version of the software. While most other businesses would have coveted the existing wide and often blue chip class of Urchin users, shipping server software to install yourself has never been something Google has gotten into. Until now.
The announcement of Urchin 6 has been eagerly awaited by many existing Urchin customers. The following table highlights the differences between Urchin and Google Analytics.
|Free||Licenced on a per-server basis|
|Data is stored & processed by Google||Data is stored locally and processed on your servers|
|Provides seamless AdWords integration||Adwords campaign data needs to be imported or tagged|
|Third party cost data can't be imported||Third party cost data - Yahoo or Microsoft ads - can be imported|
|Provides an advanced Flash interface||Uses the previous generation interface for reports (Google Analytics 1.0)|
|Has difficulty handle non-page content||Can handle all web server requests, whether pages, files, or other traffic sources|
|Includes events and search analysis||Does not provide events or search analysis|
As you can see, from the above table, the differences between the products are fairly significant. In summary, if a company is very cautious - or is bound by law - to prevent website traffic data from leaving their facility, Urchin is a better choice than Google Analytics. However, the fact Urchin is running an older interface, doesn't support newer event and site search stats and is unlikely to have new features added to it as quickly, means that GA will remain the platform of choice for most webmasters seeking a high quality, reliable and inexpensive analytics solution.