What is com.google.android.googlequicksearchbox referral in Google Analytics?

17 May, 2016

What is com.google.android.googlequicksearchbox referral in Google Analytics?

In the last few weeks in Google Analytics we have seen a huge spike in referrals from com.google.android.googlequicksearchbox on the sites we manage.

After some investigation this appears to be driven by the new quick search in Android 6 (thanks @martsky and @richardgomer).

This appears to use a non-standard Chrome window which blocks/masks the browser referrer. Instead this passes com.google.android.googlequicksearchbox as the referrer which shows up in Google Analytics and other analytics tools.

The steps to repeat this are outlined below:

  1. Carry out a search using the new search bar in Android 6
  2. Scroll the result in Google
  3. Click to visit the website

The visitor then arrives on the site as shown the Apache log below:

[sourcecode language="plain"][17/May/2016:12:44:17 -0400] "GET / HTTP/1.1" 200 6198 "android-app://com.google.android.googlequicksearchbox" "Mozilla/5.0 (Linux; Android 6.0.1; Nexus 5 Build/MOB30H) AppleWebKit/537.36 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/50.0.2661.89 Mobile Safari/537.36"[/sourcecode]

As you can see the referrer is now set as android-app://com.google.android.googlequicksearchbox.

Hopefully Google will resolve this issue promptly.

In the meantime it should be possible to great a custom filter to correctly assign the traffic.

Written by Ash

Having co-founded Evoluted in 2006, Ash’s passion for the digital world and obsession with client satisfaction has since helped the company grow into one of Yorkshire’s leading digital agencies. An advocate of ROI-focused delivery and a firm believer in the use of bespoke technology, he was nominated for ‘Business Person of the Year’ at the 2017 Sheffield Business Awards.

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