The new applications aTrackDog is designed to help users make sure that their applications are up to date. This application in theory would be a perfect solution to a flawed update system on Android. aTrackDog works by sending information about your currently installed apps over to the a0soft.com servers then checks all available applications for updates and notifies you if there are any.
aTrackDog though has a “MAJOR” design flaw, if a beta tester is also an aTrackDog users then all users of aTrackDog will get a notification that there is an update when in reality the application is up to date. The guys over at Big In Japan learned this first hand when they received plenty of email stating that users could not download the newest version of ShopSavvy.
“Starting on Friday we began getting emails from aTrackDog users who complained that they could not download the latest release of our software. Our current version is 3.0.0, but aTrackDog showed that our most recent version was 3.0.5 (an internal alpha version). We DO have a public beta running at 3.0.4, but the most recent public/stable release (i.e. the one in the Market) is 3.0.0. aTrackDog is listing 3.0.5 as our latest release so each aTrackDog user receives an alert that they need to update their version of ShopSavvy. Our users are becoming more and more frustrated as their emails reveal.”
aTrackDog’s only suggestion to developers at Big In Japan was to suggest users to select ‘Not Track this version’ in the aTrackDog settings. aTrackDog needs to really step it up a notch here because developers should not have disclaimers and notes for each conflicting application that is later released. Developers do not have any control over what their beta testers use on their phones. Rylan went on to say in an email to aTrackDog developers:
“I think your method of version tracking is very clever. You managed to let your users’ phones do the difficult data-collection for you. Unfortunately your strategy is not 100%, it’s not sustainable. When there are 10,000 applications in the Market and half of them are releasing private versions how will you handle the flood of support emails and admin emails coming your way? I recommend that you change your model such that it includes some sort of review process first. When a new version is submitted to your database, before you notify the world, you should go verify its existence first. This would include either finding it in the Market or updating the URL for manual download.”
Big In Japan believes the real purpose of this application is for gaining data market intelligence. With this application they are able to see how many people are using which applications. Data such as this is “VERY valuable” and should compensate those giving the data in some way rather than give false information to users about current versions. Big In Japan, as do I suggest that you uninstall this application as it isn’t useful and will likely cause confusion.