I’d love to use a note-taking app instead of the plain text files I’ve been using for years. I’d love the multimedia features, the searching. But every time I hear of a great one, I hesitate before jumping in. I wonder what’ll happen to the notes I create. I look for an Export button, but don’t find one.
Why does the stuff I create have to be trapped in the app? It’s my stuff, right?
Companies are, wittingly or unwittingly, offering to become stewards of my data. That’s a big responsibility. And companies don’t seem to take it very seriously.
Woven was a “free photo viewing app” with a home page that said, “Your photos may live in many places, but they only have one home.” That was last year. Now the home page is a big thank-you to their users and oh, by the way, “After April 6th, we will delete all of your personal data, photos, and videos.” If you missed this notification, or if you don’t follow the steps they outlined to request and then download your data, by the deadline, your stuff will be gone forever.
Last night at TechHub Boston the folks from HeyNow previewed their new chat app. It looked very nice. But they only store the past 30 days of chats; everything is deleted after 30 days. They said it was “impossible” (from a UI perspective I guess) to navigate conversations that were more than 30 days old. I don’t know what that means, but if the data were still available I imagine a UI could be created to make it more possible. I occasionally reference emails from years ago. As communication moves from email to chat, will I lose that ability?
I understand it’s much more convenient for the stuff I create to be stored in the cloud. It just isn’t a good permanent solution, especially if it’s someone else’s cloud. It’s not realistic for a company to promise to be responsible for my stuff forever. Companies come and go, and change. Just give me an Export button for my stuff and we’re good.