Help: What does "client-side time" mean?
I'm trying to figure out how the "Users" metric is calculated. I have read the page https://support.google.com/analytics/answer/2992042 several times, but it doesn't actually explain how the calculation works, just that there are two different methods that could be employed. Note that for Calculation #1 we are told:
This calculation relies only on the number of sessions in the given date range and the time of each session. (This is determined by technology managed on the device, like a web browser, and is often referred to as the client-side time.) Because the result of this calculation can be added to the pre-aggregated data tables, Analytics can reference the table to quickly retrieve and serve this data in a report, including when you change the date range.
This paragraph doesn't actually say how the calculation works, and refers to something called "client-side time", an expression not appearing anywhere else in Google Help.
Calculation #2 is similarly not explained, but I presume that this is determined by aggregating, sorting and then de-duplicating a set of unique identifiers representing users who visited in the given time frame. Quite a time-intensive approach.
Anyway, I can't find an explanation as to what "client-side time" really is; or how it is used to calculate the Users metric.
Re: Help: What does "client-side time" mean?
That's a good question. To be honest, I don't know how it's calculated. I assumed it was one of those things that Google kept secret deliberately for whatever privacy or commercial reason.
Maybe someone else can chime in here but I think your best bet would be to select "No" on the "was this article helpful" part at the bottom and ask for clarification on that. I've done this too. The author of this article will get this feedback directly. I'll set up a change monitoring script to see if that document changes (you should do the same) and hopefully he or she will add more information.