You may have noticed that Google sent out an email last week which caused a lot of confusion, because it said to upgrade to the latest tag within Google Analytics. This is going from analytics.js to gtag.js. Part of the reason it caused so much confusion is because obviously you want to make sure that you’re running the latest version of Google Analytics and people were concerned.
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.