Big Brother: v3 now available, and end-of-life dates for v1 and v2

Earlier this year, Google announced they are retiring (among other things) the so-called out-of-band (OOB) authentication scheme for their API platform.

Without getting too technical, that's the authorization method where you are presented with a code to copy/paste into a different application. It allows self-hosted applications, on any URL, to use the OAuth authentication method to grant access to an account. Typically OAuth requires a whitelisted redirect URL - with OOB that's not necessary.

Big Brother, our Google Analytics dashboard extra, uses OOB for authorization for that reason.

On October 3rd, authenticating with this method will no longer be allowed at all. It will not be possible to authorize new sites or re-authorize when an existing authorization expires or is revoked after this date. 

Good to know: existing authorizations will keep working and pulling in data, as long as the authorization is not revoked. 

We've requested an extension for our credentials used in Big Brother v1.5 and 2.x to make it possible to use that as long as possible. If that's granted, the October 3rd date becomes February 1st, 2023.

Big Brother v2 & v3

To get around the limitation for new users, we've just released Big Brother 3.0. This is a direct upgrade from 2.x, supporting Google Analytics v4, and makes use a new authorization flow that incorporates an authorization proxy we host. This proxy will allow you to authenticate immediately out-of-the-box in a new flow.

If you're already authorized when upgrading from v2, that will carry over into v3 for both custom and the default OAuth credentials.

Good to know for those using custom OAuth credentials:

  1. v3 no longer supports using custom OAuth credentials. Everyone must use the standard credentials we provide and manage. We'll rotate these every once in a while to avoid hitting quotas.
  2. If you were authorized on v2 with custom OAuth credentials, the existing authorization will continue to work and use your credentials after upgrading to v3.
  3. When re-authorizing or setting up a new account in the future, you will be automatically switched to the new authorization flow and new default credentials provided. It is not possible to re-authorize with your custom credentials after upgrading.

If you'd like to learn more about the authorization proxy and how to ensure we cannot access your Google Analytics data, see the readme and privacy documentation.

  • Big Brother v2 is considered deprecated as of today. We'll no longer update v2 beyond security updates. v3 is a direct upgrade that's available to you today. 
  • Big Brother v2 will be considered end of life from October 3rd. If we're granted the extension, we'll extend this date to February 1st, 2023 to keep it supported a little longer.

Big Brother v1

In version 1.5 of Big Brother, which supports Universal Analytics and only MODX 2.x, a similar OOB authorization flow is used. So v1 is also affected by the OOB deprecation and removal. 

As Universal Analytics will be end-of-life on July 1st, 2023, we do not intend to release an update for Big Brother v1 with the new authorization flow. 

  • Big Brother v1 is considered deprecated as of today. We'll no longer update v1 beyond security updates.
  • Starting October 3rd, v1 will start showing a permanent banner in the manager prompting users to upgrade to Google Analytics v4.
  • Big Brother v1 will be end-of-life on July 1st, 2023.

If you have any questions, feel free to drop them in the comments below, or email support.