Google on Thursday announced a slew of improvements to its Analytics product. As is typical with these types of updates, the company is rolling the changes out slowly, meaning you may already be using some of them, but the company promises all will be available “shortly,” though it didn’t give an exact date.

So, what’s new? First up, Google has added new widgets and layout options:

12 Google revamps Analytics with new widgets, layouts, sidebar, recent history, and improved search

You can now add maps, devices, and bar chart widgets, customize the layout of your dashboards, and there’s even support for advanced segments. The best part, however, is that you can share and export custom dashboards so you don’t have to make the same changes twice for yourself or multiple people.

Google has also enabled shortcuts for real-time reports, which allows you to, for example, watch traffic for a specific region. Speaking of shortcuts, the sidebar has been tweaked so that it features quick access to your all-important shortcuts:

31 Google revamps Analytics with new widgets, layouts, sidebar, recent history, and improved search

Given that Google is all about search, it’s naturally expected that the search function gets an improvement. Better Search, as it’s rather poorly called, allows you to search across all reports, shortcuts, and dashboards all at once to find what you need. You can also now navigate to recently used reports and profiles quicker with a new Recent History feature:

41 Google revamps Analytics with new widgets, layouts, sidebar, recent history, and improved search

Last but not least, Google has tweaked the date comparison tool to let you select the previous year for year-over-year analysis and added native Excel XSLX support as well as Google Docs.

Frankly, this isn’t a huge update, but it does add quite a bit to the service. For anyone who uses Google Analytics on a frequent basis, these are welcome changes.

See also – Google Analytics may soon be used to measure Google+ Pages and Google opens Google Analytics Content Experiments to all, adds new tracking features too

Image credit: Ulrik De Wachter