Google has just extended an invitation to developers and marketers to take part in the beta for the Real Time Reporting API for Google Analytics.
Google first launched real time analytics back in 2011. Since then, it's been a must-use feature of Google Analytics, giving people a glimpse at where there traffic is coming from as it is happening.
"Manually taking action and being informed about the immediate performance of your site is fantastic, however it’s not realistic to sit at your computer 24/7 and take advantage of these insights," Google says in a blog post. "Also and perhaps more importantly, your reflexes can never be as fast as computers. So the next logical step has always been to programmatically take action using real-time analytics."
With the API, you can make queries about real-time data and use the info in various apps to suit your needs.
"One of the immediate use cases is to manage the content on your webpage," the company says. "For example, you can query the API for the top visited URLs to construct a top trending content widget with the number of active readers. A site can also use what I call the 'web counter 2.0', meaning to display the active visitor count in real-time. Seeing the number of visitors also viewing a piece of content has a number of subtle effects such as creating a sense of community and credibility."
Check out how Clancy Childs is using it to display realtime visitors on a pebble smart watch (pictured). That gives you a good idea of the possibilities this API really opens up.