It looks as if everyone’s favorite company (unless you are into open source, Linux and that whole “freeware” thing) has decided to take on Google in the realm of web analytics.
But while Microsoft admits that its software is very similar to Google’s, they boast that their new analytics tool will be able to break down visitor stats by age as well as gender.
(Internet News) “Of course it’s quite similar to Google’s Analytics product (which has been recently revamped, to mixed reviews), but apparently Gatineau will be able to leverage Live ID information … to offer demographic information,” wrote MVP (Microsoft Most Valuable Professional) Kip Kniskern on Windows Live enthusiast site LiveSide earlier this week.
Those added capabilities will include the ability to segment Web site visitors by both age and gender.
“Questions are already being asked … about where we get this data from; the answer is that we do get this information from users’ Live ID (formerly known as Microsoft Passport) profiles, but I would stress that we get this information anonymously, and there is no use of PII (Personally Identifiable Information, such as name or e-mail address) in the product,” said a blog post by Ian Thomas of Microsoft’s Digital Advertising Solutions group.
Although marketing firms will find this to be “uber cool,” privacy experts may not welcome this feature at all. Web analytic tools already collect an enormous amount of data on visitors, and by Microsoft “sharing” its user data with its stat application may cause some people to either leave Live ID or falsify information (i.e. I live in Antarctica and I’m a 100 years old).
It will be interesting to see whether or not the blogosphere welcomes this tool upon their own weblogs, although for Live ID users Microsoft may have to find a way to make this tool “less evil.”