i've been using it for over a month.
no downsides really. about the only thing i dont like is that the stats are always 2-4 hours behind.
some people have complain that it slows down their page load-times, but i have not seen this.
I started last fall when they opened it up, use it for several sites.
Very useful for seeing what's going on. The info it shows is great, clear, easy to understand.
You have to do an annoying amount of clicking around to see anything, and can't set defaults, so to see the first page I want every time takes about 8 clicks.
Can't see 2 screens of info side by side. They will let you export data, so you could set up your own stuff. Seems to update twice a day, first about 3 hours before the end of the day with incomplete info and later with a complete days data.
Easy to compare results for 2 time periods. Easy to set up a goal and see which sites referrals are most valuable.
Overall a great value for the price (free).
My experience is it will slow page loads, especially for dialup users, if you have a high traffic site. We serve tens of millions of page views each month and gave up on GA after 4 days of user complaints
I've been using Google Analytics since 16NOV05.
It's proven to be a valuable, easy-to-use tool -- although I probably wouldn't opt to rely on it and it alone. I continue to use several other Web metrics softwares with features Analytics doesn't have...yet.
I've seen Analytics stats fresher than 1 hr and staler than 4 hrs, but mostly it's right in between.
I haven't perceived any effect one way or the other on site performance.
The only negative thing is that it's been painful to watch over the last month with Google dropping pages, juggling supplementals, fumbling robots.txt, and seemingly self-generating HTTP errors with extraneous snippets of unicode. Google itself hardly shows up in the Analytics search engine comparatives over the last few days.
I don't believe Analytics is implicated in all that -- it's just the messenger.
I had slow loading times too. I put it now at the very end of each page. This will have an effect of "perceived" viewing time by Google, though ...
I see slow loading times it's a real fact in Analytics users, perhaps those that didn't notice it have low traffic.
What is the difference compared to Awstats, Webalizer or other stats software?
yes the "slow loading times" nullify all the page optimization I done. Most of time, the loading times behave normal. But when they are not, it is a huge bottleneck that will turn your visitors away. I have turn that on two times; however, it didn't last a few days each time.
I got the invite in on april 3rd, The one thing I have noticed is that Analytics doesn't pick up everything my log files do? Page views and uniques are always a little off from the stats I view in my CP, but Google analytics has TONS more features than the stats that came with my hosting, so in my opinion, I give it a B+ very useful, somewhat accurate, and not as user friendly as it could be, but still a great value I would probaly pay for.(though I am happy to be using it for free)
I dropped IndexTools (which was fantasic, but expensive) and started using G-Analytics last year.
I'd like to be able to see "Exit URL" info. That would give Analytics an 'A' from me.
Seems nice but my only concern is to degrade speed performance...