It seems Google is testing a new AJAX powered search on US Google searches. So what?
Well it seems a standard Google search returns the url http://www.google.com/search?q=cloudave when searching for CloudAve. The new search returns http://www.google.com/#q=cloudave. The difference being that standard referral tracking and analytics services don’t see anything after the “#”.
The search community has gone ballistic on this one (not surprisingly fuelled by competitors to Google’s own analytics product).
Uncharacteristically Google has replied to the uproar saying;
Commenters in blog land seem evenly split between those who consider Google’s move anti-competitive and downright nasty, to more moderate souls who contend that; a) this is Google doing what it has every right to do, protecting it’s competitive advantage and b)it’s a test goddamit – just relax.
Given that this is just a limited test I tend to fall into the latter, more moderate camp. However if the test gets rolled out further, or indeed becomes a default set-up, there’ll be some lousy information in a lot of people’s analytics reports. Unfortunately a simple change to analytics solutions will not get over this one – it’ll require some browser code rewrite apparently.
Another storm in a teacup?