Google's Urchin.js is Staying Put for Now

2 minute read
Chelsi Nakano avatar

Last week there was some chatter floating around on the Internet concerning whether or not Google’s old analytics code would be made obsolete, and what would happen to the 40% of analytics users still employing it.

Thankfully, Google quelled the fears of most by releasing a statement claiming urchin.js isn’t going anywhere. At least not yet.

 The Story

Google migrated to ga.js and stopped maintaining urchin.js back in December of ’07. The topic has since remained pretty lifeless, that is until last week when Julien Coquet from LBi, a Google Analytics Authorized Consultant, reportedly said, “The information we are getting from Google is that urchin.js will be decommissioned sometime this summer.”

Though the claim has since been debunked, we still wonder, how long will urchin.js keep working? When Google initially made the switch, it was widely believed that support for the script would stop after 12 – 18 months.

Ever closer to the end of that time frame, regardless of whether it means D-Day for urchin.js or not, it’s just good sense for users to upgrade. After all, nobody likes a 404 page.

Learning Opportunities

Keepin’ it Old School

Google’s official blog reports that they have no immediate plans to retire the script. If and when they do, they’ve promised “clear, advanced notification” will go out to users.

Though there’s now no reason to panic just yet, old schoolers like Blogger.com, Foxnews.com, Wired.com and Match.com may want to consider switching to ga.js for the following reasons:

  • Faster, smaller source file
  • Automatic detection of HTTPS
  • Increased namespace safety
  • More convenient set up for tracking e-commerce transactions
  • More customizable code for interactive Ajax-based sites
  • Ability to take advantage of the most up-to-date tracking functionality as it is added to Google Analytics

And, of course, because it’s actually maintained. Google has a thorough how-to guide complete with explanations on how function codes will change that can be found here. If you’re one of the thousands still using the old legacy code, why not make the swap now?