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July 22, 2007

Microsoft 'Gatineau' sneak peek

So, some screenshots of the interface for beta 1 of our web analytics product (codenamed 'Gatineau') have slipped out onto the web, courtesy of Dave Naylor. Dave attended our adChamps briefing in London a couple of weeks ago where he saw a demo of the software and spoke with my colleague Justin (who did a sterling job of flying to London at less than 24 hours' notice when I had to cancel because of another engagement). Not quite sure how he got these images (we were planning to make an announcement ourselves soon), but... hey. At least gives me a chance to clear up a couple of things:

Beta date
Beta 1 of Gatineau will likely hit the web later this summer. If you'd like to participate in the beta, please fill out the online beta request form, but please note that this will be a limited beta and so you may have to wait to be admitted. I'm not going to make any promises around how long that wait might be. If you've already e-mailed us, no need to do so again - we know who you are.

The beta is a work-in-progress. We're planning to add more reports to the product before we consider it "done" (whatever that means in this day and age).

Demographic data
One of the reasons we wanted to wait for our own announcement around the beta functionality is because we wanted to explain where we get our demographic data from. Beta 1 will include the ability to segment data by both age and gender buckets, so you can get more of an idea of what kind of visitors you have. Questions are already being asked on Dave's blog about where we get this data from; the answer is that we do get this information from users' Live ID (formerly known as Microsoft Passport) profiles, but I would stress that we get this information anonymously, and there is no use of PII (Personally Identifiable Information, such as name or e-mail address) in the product.

Hopefully I'll be able to post a more comprehensive explanation of this process very soon (in fact, I started writing one in this post, but halfway through my implant started bleeping so I hit the delete key before my brain stem was fried). Will be back once I've checked with Legal. In the meantime, if you have any comments on this or any other aspect of the product, you know where the comments box is.

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