Mar 2006

Google brings web grinding to a halt

This morning when I clicked on this blog to make sure it was running OK, I received an unpleasant surprise. Rather than appearing instantly, like a website should do over my broadband connection, The Quiet Road instead took the best part of a minute to respond. All the while my browser status bar read “Connecting to www.google-analytics.com…”

The fact is; I don’t need a stats package like Google Analytics for a site like this and I’ve since removed it. I didn’t know that when I signed up for it; I was under the impression that it was merely “a better Site Meter” with a shinier interface. But the fact is, a system like Sitemeter or AWStats is more than enough for a blog. Google Analytics may be of great use to a corporate site, but its polished interface doesn’t do enough to make the information-overload manageable for a small site.

And when something goes wrong (like today… the WordPress documentation is next to impossible to use thanks to Google Analytics) and brings every enabled site to a grinding halt, then all the AJAX interface wizardry in the world isn’t much compensation. It also demonstrates the dangers of such ubiquity. If every large site on the web is Google Analytics enabled, it puts a lot of pressure on the Google tech people not to fuck up.

It’s also putting a lot of faith in the notion that some disenchanted or plain malicious Google tech person won’t ever use that script in the header of all those corporate websites to distribute something destructive or obscene…

Posted in: Opinion