Google proved its staying power even further this week with an unexpected rise in quarterly earnings. On the product side, the giant took on Amazon with the release of Google Cloud SQL, and added some Twitter-like search features to the family.
When compared to other Web analytics tools, Google Analytics has always fallen short in the timing department. Thankfully, that all ended a little over a week ago when the Internet giant added same-day statistical reports to the family.
Google Analytics Real-Time is essentially a new set of reports that show website activity as it happens. Users can now instantly track the efficacy of campaigns by attaching related tags to links shared on popular platforms like Facebook and Twitter:
Surely, measuring the immediate impact of social media efforts is at the top of every Google Analytics user's list. Writes John Jersin of the Google Analytics Team of the official announcement post:
For example, last week we posted about the latest episode of Web Analytics TV and also tweeted about the post. By campaign tagging the links we shared, we could see how much traffic each channel is driving to the blog as it happened. We could also see when we stopped receiving visits from the tweet, which helps know when to reengage.
Another way to use the feature is to make sure campaign tracking is correctly implemented before launching a campaign. Before you start driving traffic to your site, make sure your measurement plans are operating smoothly by quickly checking Real-Time reports for the right data.
The Internet giant has also announced a premium analytics tier for enterprise companies who want more support than what the free version offers.
- More Processing Power: Gather, analyze and share more data; track billions of hits per month and get deep insights from 50 custom variables; download unsampled reports.
- Better Analysis: A deeper understandings of consumer behavior on website, including tools which allow testing different models for assigning credit to conversions.
- 24/7 Service and Support: Experts are available to guide customized installation, and manage accounts at all hours of all days.
- Guarantees: Service level agreements for data collection, processing and reporting.
Google has made several announcements that could increase the pressure on other enterprise cloud vendors. New service level agreements, lower cloud storage pricing and a new relational database service might give Google the momentum to move from the developer ranks to true enterprise class.
The Internet giant began offering a limited preview of its new relational database as a service, Google Cloud SQL, last week. The service allows users to leverage a database for their applications without the administrative effort. The service is continuing in preview status at no charge. Perspective users can contact Google to participate in the preview.
Google has also promoted its storage offering from the lab to a production offering. The cloud storage service was introduced last year targeted at developers, but Google had larger ambitions for the product — the entire enterprise.
The Twitterverse got a major dose of gossip earlier when Google's Steve Yegge accidentally publicly posted a message intended for his fellow Googlers that the company needed to focus on openness, APIs and Google+ as a platform, rather than building everything itself. Google+ has been losing users recently, as there is no wider ecosystem to help keep people on the site, which was largely the thrust of Yegge's argument.
Google will have to take stock and consider its response, beyond the usual PR schmaltz, but for now it continues with the gradual, organic growth of the service. The latest addition is support for hashtags in search so that users can find Twitter comments. This comes after Google and Twitter failed to agree on direct access to the Twitter stream within the service.
Add to that the new real-time search feature and now Google+ searches can post results just seconds after they were created, similar to the "most recent" option in existing Google searches. In combination, you can now follow a Twitter stream from within Google+, if that takes your fancy.
As more users search from their social apps, Google will need to ensure its results are relevant from any location, rather than hoping people still drop back to the original Google search page.
Google's Got Dollars
Google reported earnings for the third quarter late yesterday, revealing a rise to US$ 2.73 billion in profits, or US $8.33 per share. The numbers are up from last quarter's US$ 2.17 billion and US$ 6.72 per share.
The results were far ahead of analyst expectations. "Christmas came early for Google shareholders," said Colin Gillis, an analyst at BGC Partners. "It was a great beat on the bottom line. It's not necessarily because they are controlling expenses. It's because they are driving more revenue."
The rise falls in line with Google's usual behavior. The giant's stock jumped 13 percent after reporting second-quarter results, and last year after reporting third-quarter results, shares jumped 12 percent.
The news isn't without its negative side, however. Some experts are worried about the coming acquisition of cellphone maker Motorola Mobility Holdings Inc., which will undoubtedly slow Google's growth rate.