Google Analytics releases can be depended upon to change expectations on what web analytics packages should all be able to do. If you're one of the other analytics vendors, you have to make sure your product does at least everything that Google Analytics can do...plus some.
So, with this in mind, the new release is quite interesting, because internal search and Web 2.0 content tracking and reporting are among the introduced features.
While all analytics vendors enable site search analytics at some level, it's not always obvious how to collect the data or see the reports.
The event tracking now enables the capture of Web 2.0 events as a standard, rather than custom feature. In addition event reports are now available, separate from page view reports. Again, while other vendors provide this functionality, it is not always presented in a clear manner...both in tagging and in report output. Note, however, that to activate these new features you will need to change the tracking code throughout your site. The new tags will also enable outbound link tracking more easily.
To help you through this transition, a QA tool called SiteScan is available. SiteScan is an audit tool that checks to see whether you've implemented the new tracking code completely. This was developed by EpikOne, a GA partner (GAAP), and represents the first time Google has collaborated with one of its partners to promote a customer service. It's not clear if this is a one-off or precedent-setting event. However, since it is the GAAPs that have direct contact with customers, their involvement with adjunct features and modules potentially becomes a significant value add to the offering.
But customers of Microsoft and other major vendors have learned that such "ecosystems" are a double-edged sword. You get the benefit of 3rd-party expertise (and remember, Google is quite removed from the enterprise experience on the ground), but now you have to deal with multiple suppliers and code-bases. Will Google's partners carry the same mystique as Google itself? We'll see...