Rad Apps: Content Updates
Let’s talk about updates. Much of the time, they’re good: they can make the user experience better. Most large apps are run on a hierarchical model however, which puts the user at the lowest rung and many operate under the model of SaaS: Software as a Service.
Why is this a problem? When you have no means of deviating from an update, you are not in control of your tools. In my own experience: my bank updated my banking app to no longer work on my old phone and I couldn’t update my phone because it was ‘closed’. So much for convenience.
Many SaaS products often start off as good ideas, but after roping enough ‘customers’ to justify the development, they start changing to become more useful to the corporation that produces it at the cost of user utility. Google Maps now promotes large corporations when you’re travelling (I’d just love to go to Starbucks when I’m experiencing a new culture). Duolingo is a great app that’s been around for a while, but I remember a time when it didn’t have any ads at all! Now it’s littered with them, and there is no option to ‘downgrade’ to an older version.
So, what should you do? Switching to open source alternatives is best for long term user choice. In the meantime, I use a website such as apkmirror to download an older version of Duolingo- one with less advertising, because despite what Duolingo thinks, I learn Spanish better without ads.