Analytics anxiety over urchin.js

Web workers who use Google Analytics to measure and analyze visits to their websites may have gotten a bit of a scare last week when it was reported (first by Pingdom, then by ReadWriteWeb) that an older tracking module in Google Analytics (urchin.js) might stop working later this year. (Google switched to the ga.js tracking module in December 2007 and, according to Pingdom, stopped maintaining urchin.js.)

If the urchin.js code stopped working, thousands of the world’s top websites would be affected. Among them, some heavy hitters such as Blogger.com and Doubleclick.com (both owned by Google), IGN.com, Foxnews.com, Match.com, Wired.com, iStockphoto.com and PCWorld.com.

On Friday, Google Analytics’ Brett Crosby set the record straight, posting on the Google Analytics Blog an unequivocal “we have no immediate plans to decommission urchin.js” and adding, “If and when we do, we will make sure users get clear, advanced notification from us and time to switch.”

Even so, it isn’t a bad idea for users to make the switch from urchin.js to ga.js, as Crosby also suggested. Even though “there is no immediate need or requirement to do so,” he recommended users “[m]ake the switch to ga.js when it is convenient for you or when you are ready to start taking advantage of the improved functionality.”

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Author: andrewcareaga

Higher ed PR and marketing guy. Communications director for Missouri University of Science and Technology (Missouri S&T) in Rolla, Missouri, USA. Slow runner, mediocre guitarist, lover of music and puns, and an avid St. Louis Cardinals fan. I blog and Tweet about #highered, #music, #gocards and #random stuff.

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