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Search Engine Guide writes that Microsoft has confirmed code name: “Gatineau“, a free website analytics package that will roll out later this year.

Gatineau had been rumored for the last week or so, and Microsoft confirmed its existence via some team member’s blogs. They said that Gatineau will be released slowly, in order to avoid the complications that happened during the rollout of Google Analytics, which means you can probably expect an invite or delayed acceptance program.

The purpose of such a service is in order to give Microsoft access to the same website statistics their giving you for free. Such data can be wildly useful, especially if the companies using Microsoft analytics are Microsoft advertising partners. Plus, it brings some goodwill, and could be a driving force making people switch to Windows Live (assuming it isn’t an MSN product) if Gatineau’s features are better than Google’s.

The product is slated for release later this year, but Microsoft intends to gradually add users to avoid the system instability that initially plagued Google Analytics, Thomas wrote. “We hope to release this product during 2007; however, we’re extremely keen to avoid a repeat of Google’s experience with Google Analytics, so we will be ramping up our user numbers gradually to make sure everyone has a good experience from a performance perspective,” he wrote.

The Gatineau code name is because the system is built on that of Gatineau, Canada-based DeepMetrix, which Microsoft acquired last May. Check out Ian Thomas’ blog for more info, and a way to get yourself on the invite list right now.

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Nathan Weinberg writes the popular InsideGoogle blog, offering the latest news and insights about Google and search engines.

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