In late 2005, Google started to provide free access to a web analytics product based on the previously expensive Urchin software suite. In the seven years since, this strategy succeeded to get Google Analytics tracking code included in a stunning share of websites by providing access to a powerful tool at (seemingly) no cost for everyone from big corporations to hobbyist bloggers.
“Oh, and we’ll of course add Google Analytics to the site” is a common phrase in the context of a web project, by large agencies and teenage family webmasters alike: Google has managed to define their product as an implicit standard for visitor analysis on the web. Adding the tracking code is easy and the data the service provides is of unquestionable quality.
Yet, privacy advocates have long pointed out the serious implications of one corporation being able to track users around such a massive slice of the internet […]