As if there are not enough wonderful ways to fritter the day away online, Facebook, Twitter and Youtube to name but a few, Google has now got into the act.

In a glorious piece of high tech nerding they have rolled out a truly amazing piece of nerdery with the latest upgrade to Google Analytics.

For the average man in the street the Analytics part of Google is probably something that you have never heard of, let alone explored. However if you run any sort of Web Site that gets more than a few hundred hits a day there is a very good chance that you are an Analytics user.

What is it? In really simple terms it is a glorified ‘Hit Counter’, it shows you how many people have accessed your site, and which pages they read. It also shows where the trafiic is originating from, from search engines, or websites, etc. This is all important and useful information. A web wienie can figure out whats hot and whats not!

Yesterday I logged onto Analytics as I do everyday and was greeted by a new look. The whizzy ‘Real Time Monitor’ has been added. You can see how many people are on your site right now, what they are doing, where they came from, etc.

I have to admit that I sat memorized for a couple of hours watching the numbers and maps change. It was like watching the large status screen of NASA’s mission control.

I had to try it out and see what happened with a new article. I crafted a quick news item and published it. Within a minute of publishing I could see a small but steady stream of traffic. As Blogger News is not a magazine type site I assumed that this traffic likely was from the RSS feeds.

The big change came at about the 8 minute mark. Blogger News is an accredited Google News and Bing News supplier. The number of ‘live’ readers tripled in the space of 5 minutes.

Was this information useful? NO. Was it fun to watch? You bet!

So the bottom line is that I now have found a great new way to waste time. Which incidentally is in very short supply in my world. However, I don’t own any gaming consoles, no smart phones, and no computer games, so I don’t feel too bad about spending a few minutes R&R with Google Analytics from time to time.

I even have a slogan that I think Google should use..

Google Analytics Real Time – A game for the serious nerd!

So if you have a nerd in your life, this would make the perfect Christmas present, and better still, it is completely free (although some assembly required).

Simon Barrett

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