Google Analytics Reporting suite on Adobe AIR

The Google Analytics Reporting suite is an Adobe AIR application that brings Google Analytics to the desktop. It uses it’s own custom API to interact with Google and nearly implements all features of Analytics.

AIR required

It obviously requires the Adobe AIR framework to be installed first, but I’ve found it to be a great tool … even if it is still in beta and has a few, erm … undocumented features.

Undocumented feature

The main thing I’ve spotted so far is that when opening the application you’re invited to “Select a profile to continue”, only none are presented until you click “Manage profiles” and then hit the “Back” button.

It’s a minor niggle, there is a workaround and I’m sure they’ll fix it in due course (now that it’s been reported).

Faster

As far as using it, I’ve found it to be significantly faster and more responsive than using Google Analytics via a browser, which has to be a good thing.

It’s certainly worth checking out.

SEO and IA

Interesting presentation about the relationship between information architecture and search engine optimization: Search engine optimization and IA: the beginnings of a beautiful friendship.

Search engines help us find what we want while lacking the ability to understand the context of our needs. Information architecture is crucial to resolving this dilemma by communicating the site message in an organic as well as structured way that is visible to the primary technology users employ to find information online.

In the email from the presenter, Marianne Sweeney, she writes: “In today’s increasingly contextual Web, the initial direction to mention, that of interlinking between contextually related pages, would be more useful. Also of use, is to select certain pages as designated authorities on a particular subject and then mount a focused linking campaign to obtain links to those pages.”

Which is encouraging, as that’s what we’re attempting to do with the website at St Andrews. The BBC News website does it very well too, with its “See also”, “Related news”, sidebar links.

(As spotted on the IA Institute mailing list by Gareth J M Saunders.)

Real World Racer (Google maps mashup)

Real World Racers

Here’s an interesting Google Maps mashup: Real World Racer, which describes itself as “A Google Maps Racing Game”.

It takes Google Maps data and allows you to race a tiny red car against other white cars on a predetermined route (other routes are available). What is rather serendipitous is that one of the routes is the Swindon, UK: Magic roundabouts which was mentioned during a number of conversations at the IWMW2007 conference in York this week.

Not sure what practical use it might have on a university website, but it’s quite fun, none-the-less. And is totally Web 2.0, so that makes it cooler than an iPhone on ice!

(Spotted on B3ta.com.)