Analytics KPI gadget for iGoogle RIP and Debrief

Sadly, our Analytics KPI gadget has joined the deadpool, as Techcrunch would put it. Our gadget required the use of inlining, which has been deprecated. Inlining essentially means that the gadget becomes part of the iGoogle page. This allowed us to not have to ask for usernames and passwords to access Google Analytics reports, and all you had to do was log in to GA in a separate screen. On the downside, inlined gadgets can potentially change and affect the display of the iGoogle page, so I understand the policy change. The alternative would be perhaps to create some kind of proxy server to access GA, but then usernames and passwords would have to be stored and sent in the clear. That’s a big red flag for us (side note: I am amazed at how comfortable many people are entering their credentials on 3rd party sites, but that’s another matter).

This was a great project to work on and learn. Widgets and gadgets are such great distribution mechanisms of content. Imagine that: with one click a gadget can be added to the personalized Google homepage, potentially reaching millions of people. The use of our gadget was of course just a drop in the ocean, but I am very grateful to everyone who used the gadget.

Here are some usage details as Google to their great credit allows tracking of gadgets via GA.


We reached approximately 10,000 visits a day (and going up if I may add), comprising of 66 different languages. Web analytics is indeed international. I was hoping we’d be able to use event tracking to see how people interacted with the gadget, but that’s for another day as it’s still in beta. Event tracking will be great for getting specific insights about your site, but have you thought about the possibilities for gadgets?

One of the main goals of the gadget was to keep things simple. Too much information and limited screen real estate require you to think about the metrics that matter to you. Read Jeremy’s post (via Andrew Chen). Scan for abnormalities and outliers and then do a deep dive into the data to see what the causes are.

What you may not know is that we were seriously considering using a humorous approach. If you are reminded that **your conversion rate SUCKS **rather than down by 1.2%, maybe it will prod you to do something about it. Hat tip goes to Avinash for providing the inspiration in one of his presentations. Here are some crazy ideas we tossed around:


I wouldn’t expect to see this type of approach in any official web application, but maybe this highlights the need for more API access to present data in slightly more unconventional ways.