Running apps: who owns your data?

Is it right that developers lock your data on their sites or they should allow you to download and move somewhere else?

13 messages
04/08/2012 at 23:47

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?

05/08/2012 at 00:05
Don't pay for an app that you cannot download the data from. It's a pretty easy solution
05/08/2012 at 07:49
I use garmin connect. This allows each session to be exported as csv, but I don't think you can do a mass export.
The t&cd for the site probably give the site 'ownership' of any data uploaded, but I understand that this is to protect the site from claims due to loss of data or improper use, rather than to stop the site users from accessing it.
05/08/2012 at 08:06
If you Google export micoach data there are various forum discussions with solutions. Looks like it requires a degree of tech knowledge though.
05/08/2012 at 09:01

Although there isn't a facility to mass download traces from Garmin Connect you can export the Activity page as a spreadsheet. That gives distances, average speeds etc

05/08/2012 at 22:58

Yes, I can see Garmin does the right thing and allows you to export your data to third parties. The thing is, I'm not sure I want to invest in another gadget. Besides this problem with exporting data, I'm pretty happy using my smartphone to track my training. If I'm going to carry it anyway, I'd rather use it.

@booktrunk: problem is, it happens with free as well as paid apps. I use Endomondo Pro and that's not a functionality they give you when you pay.

@Lou: I saw that but it shouldn't require you to hack the system to retrieve your data. Developers should implement the functionality. And I don't think it's something to do with protecting them from losing your data, my bank allows me to export all my transaction to CSV and that's a lot more data than my runs. I think they just want to lock you in.

I wonder if anyone has used an app that allows download.

06/08/2012 at 07:36

Why should these sites allow you to export the data?  Claiming it's "yours" is bollocks - you accept certain terms and features when you sign-up to use a service.  Why should a service provider invest time & money in providing export tools when people are using their applications at no charge?

06/08/2012 at 11:56

Ah, the value of backing up your Excel files......

06/08/2012 at 13:57
Intermanaut wrote (see)

Why should these sites allow you to export the data?  Claiming it's "yours" is bollocks - you accept certain terms and features when you sign-up to use a service.  Why should a service provider invest time & money in providing export tools when people are using their applications at no charge?

Nothing like calling somebody else's argument "bollocks" to keep the conversation flowing. Ta. 

 

06/08/2012 at 13:58
Wilkie wrote (see)

Ah, the value of backing up your Excel files......

Actually, I think it was a mix of changing laptops, restoring a backup and Dropbox that caused the mess. Trying to keep it simple now.

06/08/2012 at 14:04

Have you emailed their support people?

07/08/2012 at 11:34
TimR wrote (see)

Have you emailed their support people?

Yes, but didn't get a reply.

07/08/2012 at 12:42

Runkeeper is free in its basic version (which is more than enough in most cases) and allows to export all your activities either as GPX of KML file...


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