So I’ve had a couple of instances recently where one of my apps has auto-updated and the new version has been somewhat disappointing. So I thought I’d post my thoughts here as I have no chance of influencing anything at all and this allows me to vent.
First one is Google Fit. The new version is almost, but not quite, completely useless.
They have done some really good things with it and made some good changes. Unfortunately they have also removed most of the old functionality that made it useful.
This is what it used to look like:
You could set your own goals, have daily, weekly, (I think also monthly) goals. When you hit your goal you got a big green tick. You could see the history of the last 7 days of daily goals, and the last 4 weeks of weekly goals.
There were a couple of things about it I didn’t like:
- Emphasis on steps. Only useful if you walk or run, not very useful for any other type of activity.
- Default goal of 10K steps a day. I usually do well over 10K steps a day during the week, but in the weekends I like to take it a bit easier.
The first issue there was worked around by cheating a bit. If I went for a cycle for 30 minutes I would manually adjust the number of steps to something appropriate for 30 minutes of fast walking. A pain in the butt, but workable.
The second issue was a non-issue as I customised my goals to 1 hour activity a day and 60K steps per week. The only reason I mention this is because the new version addresses this issue and in doing so throws the baby out with the bathwater.
My hour of activity per day was just to make sure I wasn’t completely idle in the weekend, but my weekly goal was the main one - it averaged out to just over 1.5 hours activity per day, but I could decide whether I wanted to go all out at the beginning of the week and cruise a bit at the end or some other way of achieving it.
The new version looks like this:
Like I said earlier, there are some good changes in this version.
They’ve removed the emphasis on steps. You now concentrate on movement minutes (equivalent to the old active minutes) and heart points (which are basically vigorous activity).
Movement minutes are automatically calculated for walking and running. I’m not sure what else.
If you walk quickly or run, the heart points are also automatically calculated, but if you do something like a gym workout you will need a wearable device that measures your heart rate.
The old default goal of 10K steps was removed and you get 2 new default goals of 30 minutes moving and 10 heart points.
That’s about it.
Now to the problems.
- First off, this new version has 2 indicators on the same dial. That’s never a good sign. This is just cosmetic, but it’s the first thing you see when you open the app so it’s important.
- They’ve change the week start date. It used to be Monday through to Sunday, it’s now Sunday through to Saturday.
Again, this isn’t a huge problem, but it’s a nuisance because i tend to do a lot more exercise when I’m at work because I go for a 60 minute walk at lunch time. This makes it harder to plan my cruise time.
- You no longer get a good visual indicator of progress. The image above has one of the goals achieved, the other one not achieved, but it doesn’t hit you in the face immediately when you look at it. You also do not get the same easy to see goal history. You can’t see it easily in the image above, but you get a bar chart with a tick at the top of each bar where you met your goal. But only one goal shows there.
- This is the big one. Really big - this is what makes the app useless.
You cannot set your own goals.
You can modify the 2 goals they give you, but you cannot create your own.
Weekly goals? Forget it.
I do actually have a weekly goal in the new version, but that’s only because I had one set up before the app got updated. If I accidentally delete that goal then I would toss Fit completely and try to find something else that worked better.
The developers of Fit justified their changes by saying that people found the 10K steps a day intimidating and a disincentive.
They also said that they worked in conjunction with medical professionals to work out the heart point thingy.
Both of those things are valid and I support those changes. However, there have been numerous occasions I used the weekly goals as an incentive to go out for a walk on a Sunday just to complete the last 5K or so steps. Removing the ability to set your own goals is just stupid.