For a long time now there has been a question hovering around just when or if Google would pull the plug on the tracking technology that started it all: Urchin tracker (also known as Urchin.js.) Urchin.js was the original tracking technology that powered Google Analytics. It was the beautiful code that we all knew and loved, but was subsequently replaced by the more nimble variations of GA.js; first in a synchronous snippet and later an asynchronous version. That was replaced earlier this year by Universal Analytics and its analytics.js collection methods.
Each iteration brought new features and enhancements that could only be used by upgrading the tracking snippet on your site to a new version. So the question was always there: How long will Google Analytics continue to allow data to be collected by an eight year old version of the tracking technology? Not only has Urchin.js been around a while but with the launch of analytics.js — it was now several generations behind.
As you may have surmised, the death sentence for Urchin.js has been handed down. Google will officially deprecate Urchin.js and sites that fail to upgrade will no longer have their data processed. This announcement was not a surprise. However, what caught many off guard was the simultaneous announcement that Google will also deprecate ALL previous versions of its analytics tracking technology.
If you rely on Google Analytics for web intelligence and you’re not running the Universal Analytics version of GA; sometime in the future, you will need to upgrade your tracking technology to continue to see data in your reports.
Don’t hit the panic button yet. Google is following a methodical process before any countdown clock starts. In my next post(s) I’ll talk more about the exact process and the steps you’ll need to take to be ready.