Ars Technica has a great article on how Google dropped the ball with their 2005 acquisition of Urchin — a web analytics company based in San Diego. Urchin provides web site administrators with the ability to analyse their log files and understand how people use their web site. To Google’s credit, they took some of the Urchin technology and came out with Google Analytics, providing really nice (and free) web-based web analytics. I use Google Analytics on all my public-facing web sites, and highly recommend it.
But… there is still a valid need for local analytics, particularly at large organizations with intranets that cannot be served by Google Analytics. This is where Urchin fit the bill nicely. Urchin is a commercial product. You can still buy Urchin from Google, though you must work through one of their certified consultants. Unfortunately, since Google’s acquisition of Urchin back in 2005, there has been little or no progress on updates.
Personally, I would love to see the charting and data presentation of Google Analytics integrated into their standalone Urchin product, but it appears that Urchin, like so many other Google acquisitions (remember Dodgeball?) is withering on the vine.