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Google Analytics Sessions and Users - Formerly Visits and Unique Visitors

If you're reading this post, then you're probably trying to understand some unsolicited and unannounced changes you recently discovered when you logged in to your Google Analytics account last week - 2 of your most important metrics disappeared and were replaced. Yeah, you're not the only one! And the worst part is, they're the first 2 metrics you look at in your audience overview when you log in. Google Analytics Sessions Visits Users Unique Visits The good news, as it turns out, is that the changes are simply language tweaks to a couple of metrics labels... It just happens to be that they are the first among your top level metrics. While the change wasn't announced or expected, Google Analytics did explain, in detail, why these changes were made, after the fact on their Google+ page:
Understanding User Behavior in a Multi-Device World In this constantly connected world, users can interact with your business across many digital touchpoints: websites, mobile apps, web apps, and other digital devices. So to help you understand what users do in the increasingly diverse digital landscape, we’re enabling you to view web and app data from the same reporting view. This will be rolling out to all accounts over the next week. Analyze app and web data in the same reporting view Any data you send to the same property appears in all of the reporting views, regardless of how you collected that data. This means that if you send data from the web or from a mobile app to one property, both data sets appear in your reports. If you want to isolate data from one source, like if you only want to see web data in your reports, you can set up a filter to customize what you see. You can also use other tools to isolate each data set, including customizations in standard reports, dashboards, custom reports, and secondary dimensions.
To the layman/average GA user though, the implications  should be relatively minor:
How these changes affect you This product change can affect you in different ways, based on how your account is set up and what kind of data you collect and send to Google Analytics. The Visitors web metric and Active Users app metric are now unified under the same name, Users. And, Visits are now referred to as Sessions everywhere in all of Google Analytics. We’ll be making these changes starting today, and rolling them out incrementally over the next week. If you collect and send both web and app hits to one property in your Google Analytics account, all your hits will appear in all your reporting views starting today. If you want to keep your web and app data separate, you need to add a filter to your reporting views. If you don’t send web and app data to the same property in your account, your data stays the same. Everyone, however,  will see the unified metric, dimension, and segment names in their reports.
That's a long  winded way of saying that most of us (GA users who don't track mobile apps) are only seeing 2 labels change:
  1. Google Analytics Visits are now labeled "Sessions"
  2. Google Analytics Unique Visitors are now referred to as "Users"
Obviously recognizing the clumsy way they rolled this change out, GA's metrics reference guide now shows "Sessions" and "Users", with the old "Visit" and "Unique Visitor" corresponding labels crossed out: Google Analytics Metrics Definitions Presumably they're doing this to make it clear that these aren't new metrics. They're just new names for existing ones. To sum up - If you're freaking out over the new "Sessions" and "Users" labels, don't! It's a simple language change for most users.