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As promised - many months ago - the Mountain View Chocolate Factory has opened up the Google Analytics Data Export API, letting web-happy developers tap straight into site stats collected by the free traffic-tracking service.

This being Google, the API is billed as a public beta. And it will most likely retain its beta tag for the rest of eternity. The Chocolate Factory has run a private beta program for about a year.

"The Data Export API is easy to use and provides read-only access to all your Analytics data," reads a blog post from Nick Mihailovski. "Any data that's available through the standard Analytics web interface is available through the API."

You might take that "easy to use" bit with a grain of salt. But the the new Analytics hooks are classified as a "Google Data API," which means they use the same API protocol as Google Calendar, Finance, and Webmaster Tools. And the Chocolate Factory is providing client libraries for Java and Javascript, with libraries for another languages on the way. If you're not using Java or Javascript, you can call the API over http and access data in XML.

The API private beta has already produced several new Analytics apps, and naturally Mihailovski's blog post gave a few plugs. One tool, from an outfit called Actual Metrics, lets you access Google Analytics from your Android Google phone. Another, from Desktop-Reporting, lets you grab data from, yes, your desktop.

Meanwhile, a company that insists on calling itself MailChimp is streaming Google Analytics data into its email marketing platform, and an outfit known as ShufflePoint is condemning such stats to PowerPoint purgatory.

"The API will allow developers to extend Google Analytics in new and creative ways that benefit developers, organizations and end users," Mihailovski writes. "Large organizations and agencies now have a standardized platform for integrating Analytics data with their own business data. Developers can integrate Google Analytics into their existing products and create standalone applications that they sell."

Documentation for the new API is available from the Google Code site, and Google urges developers to join the Google Analytics API Notify email group (for updates, code changes, and other news) and Google Analytics APIs group (for making friends with other eternal beta users). ®

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