Shot of Greater Chicago Metropolitan Area, from the International Space Station

Google has real-time reporting in Google Analytics, which is very useful to see how many users are on your site at any moment in time, and view their activity: pageviews, time on site, etc. From a purely “this is cool” perspective, the Google Analytics team has also integrated Google Earth to displaying site metrics: you can see where your users are on the planet, at the same moment they are browsing your site.

Real-Time Google Analytics with Google Earth visualisationNow any webmaster can feel like they are in the ops-center scene of a Michael Bay movie or a Tom Clancy novel. And I have to admit that watching the earth spin between aerial views of different cities on the planet as visitors browse your website from New Delhi to Caracas is just extremely cool.

To use the feature, make sure you are in the Reporting view of your site. You’’ll see Real-Time in the left-hand sidebar, with “locations” underneath. “Earth” is one option for the locations view. Of course you’ll need the Google Earth plugin to see the data in this mode.

Photograph by NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center, used under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.0 Generic license

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