Urchin

Did you know that most every page on the internet has Google’s urchin embedded in it?

Yep, an urchin. That spiny little sea creature that looks like it could stick itself into anything and you’d never get it out. At least, that’s the image I assume they had in mind when they named it that way, many many years ago. Google was looking to stick their tentacles into every little nook and cranny.

I guess someone realized that it wasn’t a good look though, so they renamed it. It’s now called Google Analytics.

If you’ve ever run a website, you’ve heard of Google Analytics. It’s the tool that you use to see how many people are viewing your site. Which pages they’re viewing, and for how long. What times of day they’re viewing them at. What phones and devices they’re using. Which countries and cities they’re in. How engaged they are. How often they come back. How hooked they are.

Google Analytics is an incredible tool, especially for its price: it’s absolutely free — for the developers, at least. And that’s why website owners use it. They get access to a bunch of pretty graphs, and it costs them nothing. Nada. Zilch.

But somebody has to pay the pied piper.

The thing about Google Analytics – Google’s urchin – is that all that data it collects about your customers? Google has access to it too – along with the data from basically every other site on the web. And when combined with Google’s data on what they watch on YouTube, and what they view in Chrome, and what they use their Android phone for… Google basically knows your customers better than they know themselves.

Or more to the point, Google knows most everyone’s customers better than they know themselves, because half of the internet — yes, PornHub included — has that darn urchin embedded in it.

So let me ask you: do you read the internet?

Other than on this site I mean. You’ll always be safe from urchins here!