I normally avoid talking about web design, because when I do, most people have no idea what I'm talking about. But today, Google rolled out a new version of their already-awesome Google Analytics tracking system, and it is simply beautiful.
Google Analytics tracks the visitors to your website. It won't identify individuals, so your identity is safe, but it can identify everything else - from the city visitors live in to the kind of browser and operating system they use. Until today, that data was displayed using nifty drag-and-drop widgets that would show you more information as your mouse moved over them.
Today, Google added features to customize views. It is now possible to compare stats - for example, you can see new and returning visitor rates side-by-side. "Segments" as it's called is great unto itself, but there's also a feature called Custom Reporting which lets you build completely custom widgets - and animate them to visually demonstrate change over time. That's statistical reporting to salivate over. That technology has been around for quite awhile, obviously, but this is the first time I'd seen statistics and really thought "hey, that's awesome." It was the first time I'd seen statistics and thought of them as more than numbers. And it really helps make clear where my websites are and aren't successful.
So thanks, Google, and keep up the good work.