Details of a new Microsoft Corp. Web analytics tool, including when the beta version will be released and how the company will get its demographic data, have leaked onto the Internet. Microsoft plans to release a beta version of its Web analytics tool called "Gatineau" this summer, said Ian Thomas, who works in Microsoft's Digital Advertising Solutions Group and is in charge of bringing Gatineau to market. The tool, which is aimed at taking on Google Inc.'s Analytics product, will allow users to segment Web traffic by both age and gender, Thomas wrote on his blog Sunday. Microsoft will get the demographic data from users' Live ID profiles. "I would stress that we get this information anonymously, and there is no use of personally identifiable information, such as name or e-mail address, in the product," he wrote. Thomas was responding to screen shots of the new technology posted at another blog Friday. Microsoft's public relations firm did not respond to a request for comment by deadline. Thomas noted in January that the Gatineau project is based on technology Microsoft acquired from DeepMetrix Corp. in 2006. He said then that the target audience for the project is similar to the target audience for Google Analytics, "though it's emphatically not our intention simply to replicate the functionality within that product." Microsoft aims to release Gatineau this year, Thomas said at the time. Thomas added that Microsoft has been ramping up the project slowly to avoid the massive performance problems Google had when it launched its free Web Analytics service in November 2005. The company had to suspend new subscriptions for the service a week after it launched because unforeseen demand impeded its performance. It reopened to new users in January 2006.
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