Google has updated its analytics -- again. It's not exactly news that Google is adding new features, but the general release of Google Universal Analytics to all its analytics customers adds a different kind of beast to the what we normally see. 

Google Universal Analytics Beta

Not that Universal Analytics (UA) is exactly new. It was introduced in limited beta form last October and offered users cross-platform analytics and mobile analytics as well as the ability to pull data from offline sources into the general business mix. With this new functionality, Universal offers better views of how visitors interact with their organization.

In a blog post on the Google Analytics website, JiaJing Wang, Product Manager for Google Analytics announced that this new functionality is now open to all Google Analytics users.

Universal Features

This means that those users who are already using Analytics will also be offered:

  • Data collection: UA brings with the analytics.js code snippet, which becomes the primary method for collection data from websites. It is more flexible that the previous ga.ja javscript and enables more customization possibilities for data gathering.
  • Simplified feature configuration: Provides a number of options in the analytics admin interface that were previously only available in the development environment. This means that it is now easier to customize configuration settings.
  • Custom dimensions, metrics: These work like default dimension and metrics, except that you create them yourself and in such a way that you can track data that Google Analytics doesn’t normally track.

The overall result of this is that with Measurement Protocol users will be able to collect data from any digital device and send it to your Analytics account, enabling users to track a lot more than websites.

However, it is worth noting here that according to Wang, many of the new features are only available to those using one of the Universal Analytics collection methods (analytics.js Javascript on websites, SDKs for Android and iOS apps. For those that don’t already have Google Analytics, they will have the choice of either using Analytics as we know it, or using the new Universal Analytics.