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The combination of smartphones and running apps have provided many of us with pretty decent alternatives to more expensive GPS watches. There are plenty of reviews out there about apps but something I’ve never seen discussed is: who owns your running data?
For almost 10 years I have kept a spreadsheet with a log of my runs. Nothing fancy, just the basic date, time and distance. Then with formulas and graphs I calculate pace, monthly average distance, keep track of my shoes, etc.
For the last couple of years I’ve been using apps on my phone to track my runs but also manually copy the data into my Excel log. Then, for some reason unknown, my Excel log lost about a year of data. No problem I thought, it’s all online. During that period I alternated between Endomondo and adidas miCoach, so I logged into their sites to retrieve my data only to find that none of them allows me to mass download or export my data!
I’m not talking downloading each GPS track I’ve logged. I’m talking the fairly basics of date, distance and time. Something very easy to put in a CSV file for me to use later.
My view is that if developers want me to be loyal to their apps, they have to give me good functionality. Keeping my data as hostage and making the cost of moving into another app too expensive is not the way to create loyalty.
At the end, Endomondo at least allows me to highlight my data on the screen and copy it into Excel, with a couple of formulas, I can clean it and put it in the right format. adidas miCoach doesn’t allow anything. It’s a flash based site so you can’t copy your data, it is really locked. Now I’m only using Endomondo and staying away from miCoach.
Do you think is right developers don’t give you that functionality? Who owns your data anyway? Do you know of an app that gives mass download functionality?