Gaug.es Vs. Google: a Web Analytics Showdown (Of Sorts)

For the longest time, I’ve used Google Analytics for tracking visits and pageviews to my websites. Google has done a great job at accumulating tons of information about my sites and the visitors that stumble upon them. Lately though, I’ve gotten the feeling that it might be providing too much information, at least for my needs. A while back, everyone’s favorite code hosting site GitHub acquired a company called Ordered List and with it a neat little Web app called Gaug.es.

Google Analytics has plenty of strengths. It provides tons of information about your site beyond a count of visitors and pageviews. With it, you can see how long someone has stayed on your site, see where your visitors are clicking, and set up alerts and goals to help you build up your site’s online presence. Best of all, it’s 100% free to use.

However, Google Analytics does have quirks that might make it unsuitable for some folks. Newcomers might find the interface scary and intimidating, with tons of data being thrown at them everywhere they turn. Perhaps people simply desire a cleaner, fresher interface.

In addition, there are privacy concerns that might be raised. While I personally am not worried about Google taking over the world and enslaving mankind, some people are, and probably want to stray away from giving Google any more information than they already have. Google already has tons of information on users gathered from the client side such as users’ searches, social actions, and other activity on the Web, so who says they should have access to the server side of things as well? This “Skynet factor” might just be enough to keep some webmasters away from Google Analytics if only for the label on the box.

Enter Gaug.es, a shiny new Web app that offers great Web analytics — for a price, of course. Gaug.es offers most of the functionality you could want from Google Analytics and then some. For instance, you can view a list of visitors currently browsing one of your sites’ pages live in real-time. Not only that, but you can pop open a map that displays where these visitors are located, giving you real-time locale demographics.
Gaug.es Vs. Google: a Web Analytics Showdown (Of Sorts)
Gaug.es also provides official Android and iOS applications, making it easy to view the most important stats about your sites on the go. On a side note, its Android application is really well done and is a great reference for anyone looking to make a well-built Android application.

Gaug.es Vs. Google: a Web Analytics Showdown (Of Sorts)In addition, Gaug.es also offers another unique feature: Browser support statistics. Aside from the usual user agent stats that your average Web analytics suite provides, Gaug.es will tell you which features of HTML5, CSS3, JavaScript, etc. are supported by your visitor population. For example, using Gaug.es, you will know how many of your visitors support HTML5 Video (and probably more important, which codecs they support). Another scenario might be how Gaug.es will let you know how many visitors support new CSS3 features like box-shadow and border-radius that can be utilized to replace the images on your site that provide the same effect at the cost of wasteful HTTP requests. This would definitely come in handy for developers of a large Web application wanting to take its platform to the next step by introducing next generation Web technologies without the fear of disrupting or ruining the app’s experience for any of its visitors (or worse yet, paying customers). Knowing which features to roll out and when used to be a tricky ordeal, and you would never know if it would break things on the user-end. No longer is that the case with Gaug.es.

I think the jewel of Gaug.es is its simplicity combined with its more unique offerings. Open it up, and you’re presented with your stats along with a clean interface for delving deeper. The same could possibly be said for Google Analytics, but the latter still feels like it’s so feature-packed that it’s about to explode from bloat. But maybe you like those extra features Google Analytics offers, so it is really all up to your preference (like everything else, luckily).

If you’d like to give Gaug.es a shot, take it for a spin with its seven-day free trial. After the trial period, you’ll have to upgrade to one of its paid plans, but its costs are much less than that of other comparable Web analytics solutions such as Woopra or Clicky.

With that said, what Web analytics platform are you using, assuming you are using one at all?