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Provide some basic or not so basic app usage stats for the developers

asked 2014-01-06 04:50:56 +0200

Artem gravatar image

updated 2014-01-14 17:44:41 +0200

foss4ever gravatar image

I create apps. Not really network related. Such as a flashlight. I want to feel motivated and learn about which features are actually used by the users (e.g. Morse code used by people? Then I can improve it even more). But.. stats gathering will feel like privacy violation whatever you say - https://together.jolla.com/question/10925/add-rights-management-for-native-apps/

So could Jolla be a trusted mediator then and provide app usage stats to developers (gathering stats on device with some centrally controlled permissions)?

  • Most basic implementation would just tell in harbour how many times app is started in this or that region on this or that week.
  • A good implementation would let developer to publish some limited set of events such as "flashlight turned on/off" and user would see right on his phone which events go to the developer.
  • A great implementation would add the cool analytics package features (such as Mixpanel or Google Analytics)

Certainly, Jolla doesn't have to do it exactly on its own and could partner with somebody.

What do you think?

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3

Very good idea, because it would benefit the devs and at the same let's users to stay informed and to decide what (if any) privacy aspects are at stake.

foss4ever ( 2014-01-06 05:56:39 +0200 )edit
13

Usage statistics should not be gathered behind my back - that is not without me knowing about it and being able to opt-out without losing functionality. Think firefox for example. There is an honest application. And they do get feedback.

kylihars ( 2014-01-07 21:01:58 +0200 )edit
2

I think you can get an idea of usage by using the data from users who agree to be tracked and see how big part of the total downloads of the app they represent. That should give an agreeable estimate of use.

kylihars ( 2014-01-07 21:02:47 +0200 )edit

Since some apps will be closed source we I really think we need control mechanisms on the app APIs, such as https://together.jolla.com/question/9670/api-security-model/

kylihars ( 2014-01-07 21:04:50 +0200 )edit
1

Offtopic: Basic Morse mode for SOS would be nice. General text2morse would be nice, even better if you code the "receiving" part, too. ;)

the_mgt ( 2014-01-09 17:40:57 +0200 )edit

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answered 2014-01-09 17:02:23 +0200

lbt gravatar image

I think it's a good idea.

Application developers write software for many reasons - but most of them (especially the small, one-man outfits) care a lot about their customers. They need to know things about their apps and unlike mega-organisations they can't afford to run focus groups or hire useability testers.

These are the people we need to help and support. They write software that is either free for us to use or certainly very cheap. Like musicians only an absolutely minute number will make megabucks doing this. Most do it out of passion!

The other benefits of a jolla-managed system:

  • you can (hopefully) trust jolla
  • centralised options for opting out
  • tied in with store to provide install/uninstall stats
  • eventually "network access" or "phone access" won't be needed
  • ???

Of course there may be drawbacks - please help identify and address them.

I'd like to see this become an opensource framework for maximum transparency (and in turn trustability and hence usefulness).

I hope this supportive view will help people see the other side of the coin.

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Agreed. It would also be a very interesting feature to attract mobile developers, a "killer feature" for those who care to look under the hood, if you will.

As long as one can opt out in the store, can review what is sent and there is an option to do the sync only on wifi, I see very few reasons not to have this.

bart ( 2014-01-24 11:38:23 +0200 )edit
9

answered 2014-01-07 20:32:28 +0200

drcouzelis gravatar image

I don't think it's a good idea.

Statistics that are collected automatically use my bandwidth for something that would not in practice benefit me, or benefit me very little, as a user. I do not want my bandwidth on my mobile, no matter how small the usage, to be used for something that doesn't benefit me.

There are existing ways to help motivate software developers that work better than automatically collecting and reporting generic numerical data, such as feedback via email, bug reports, or a web forum. If your application is open source, you can receive even more motivation in the form of other software developers offering to help develop your application.

In your specific example (I have not seen your application and don't know how it in implemented), a flashlight application should allow the user to turn the light on and off in the easiest and fastest way possible. For example, turn the light on when the user starts the application (that's why they're starting it anyway!), a large button the screen both in full screen mode and cover mode to toggle the light, and turn the light off when the user closes the application. None of this requires network access to benefit me.

That's my opinion (since you asked for it). ;)

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2

Well the whole point of suggestion is that some central Sailfish service would collect usage stats on device and send it once in a while to harbour. Sure with you being able to opt in-out and see what it is sending. Even mildly paranoid users might be ok if device only tells number of app starts.

Artem ( 2014-01-07 21:51:07 +0200 )edit
2

Developers already get application download stats from Harbour; anything else collected without the users explicit approval is in my opinion an invasion to the privacy of the user.

MartinK ( 2014-01-07 23:39:08 +0200 )edit
3

The app works almost exactly like you described, but the question was about usage stats, so the dev could determine how people use the app. This is so the dev can improve the app for you, the user. You benefit from improved apps. Also, transfert should be opt-in and wifi only.

the_mgt ( 2014-01-09 17:38:08 +0200 )edit
2

The usage data should be collected through a well-defined, opt-in interface to be sent periodically in an anonymized form, so that the developer gets statistical data about the usage of the app, but the user's privacy is not compromized. This would be better than every app gathering its own data.

jsiren ( 2014-01-09 19:19:22 +0200 )edit
1

There are several levels of what's useful for the dev (speaking abt my daily stuff): - just app usage (number of app starts) - basic feature usage (how much users signup with Twitter VS email) - funnels to see where users are lost from welcome to e.g. sharing photo. Here sequences are important

Artem ( 2014-01-09 19:23:10 +0200 )edit
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Asked: 2014-01-06 04:50:56 +0200

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Last updated: Jan 09 '14