Notifications are Coming (Gradually)

[Update]: For those who are looking for my comments on the lack of reporting of marketplace, please read my stance here.

The two major comments of GoVoice on the marketplace are: 1) Performance, and 2) Push

Ok guys, I heard you. GoVoice 1.5 has been pushed to the marketplace over the weekend, which will address some of those concerns. Here is the rundown of 1.5 changelog:

  • Major Performance Improvements
  • Poll Notifications (experimental; more on this later)
  • Password is no longer saved to storage for better security
  • Archiving
  • Save Settings bug
  • Reduced page size from 20 to 10 to improve load speed
  • fixed many button availability bugs
  • Auto-save settings
  • Visual changes

Please understand that most improvements are done over the objections of the neglected significant other. As I will get to all your requests eventually, please give me some time.

Now, regarding Push:

Because there is too much demand for Push, this has become my top priority for the next release. The plan is to introduce Push to GoVoice gradually.

Currently I have no idea how many copies of GoVoice are sold nor did I receive a single paycheck. Implementing Push is a very risky thing for me because I need to justify that the expenses will cover the maintenance cost of a Push server. If  Push is implemented,  the expenses are coming straight out of my paycheck, and that is very sensitive to me. I need to better understand the values of a Push server, and therefore, I am introducing a “poll” notification. Essentially, your Google Voice data will be polled every 60 minutes when the GoVoice tile is visible, and any unread message counts will show on the tile. This gets one step closer to where I want it to be.

There are two goals of this feature: Firstly, I need to know how people respond to privacy concerns. Obviously, to poll data, I need to set up a server to access your Google Voice account. I will avoid keeping your password anywhere in the system, but GoVoice server will still need to see your Google Voice inbox for Push to be possible. I want to know how people see this as a major concern. Secondly, I need to gauge how many people have purchased GoVoice. It makes no sense to me to lose my paycheck money for something worthless. I need to know how many people will sign up for the poll notification before I decide Push is worthwhile.

As you can see, your feedbacks are crucial in determining the future of GoVoice. If you have any comments, please don’t hesitate to contact me here or via my twitter handle.

Now, while I am still waiting GoVoice to pass certification, you get a preview of what is coming down the pipe. :)

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5 comments

  1. Something that I think is very important when considering these third party tools for tracking, is *privacy*. Any third-party solution (including rolling my own by pinging a server, or calling Google Analytics) is going to require a data connection at minimum. More importantly to users, it exposes (or potentially exposes) data that they might not appreciate being sent out to you. A lot of users dislike this kind of tracking, and even if you make it as minimal as possible (ping the server once with a unique, non-identifying ID each time the app is used), some folks are not going to like it if they are aware of it. As a result, as a developer, I would much rather have no tracking in my app and wait for App Hub to give me reports.

    Unfortunately, this puts me in the exact same situation you are in. There are a TON of apps I want to write, but I can’t do it financially, because I don’t know what the ROI would be, or if it would even be negative. This is made worse by the lack of a subscription model for the time being. Running a server has a base, ongoing cost which is further increased by usage. If my app is successful and users love it and use it constantly, it is quite possible that the 99 cent app (of which I’ll see 70 cents after Microsoft gets their percentage, minus the $99 App Hub fee which I may never recoup) will end up costing me more money in server fees than I get for the app… and if I price it high enough to cover the *ongoing* costs, I may not sell enough to cover my upfront costs (development time). Without a subscription model (99 cents up front, $5/year, or whatever…) I have no way of ensuring profitability, and without the reporting, I can’t even GUESS at what it takes to be profitable.

    So…

    What I am saying is that I empathize completely. Right now I am wrapping up an app where it has a local data file. I want to have it update the local data file on a regular basis. I thought about putting an auto-update component in it to get the “latest and greatest” from my Web site on a regular basis, but until I feel comfortable with the payment model, I’m just going to update the XAP file and let the app update handle things.

    J.Ja

  2. I have read that you are frustrated with the lack of reporting tools – have you looked at Runtime Intelligence from PreEmptive Solutions? Microsoft has funded the commercial SKU for all WP7 developers and so there is no cost to you and it can track sessions, feature usage, and capture custom data as well. It is all injected post-compile (no programming required). If you had an issue with it – that would also be great to know – i can say that there are already over 100 apps on the marketplace that are using these analytics. thanks very much,

    see http://www.preemptive.com/windowsphone7.html

  3. When I check the box for enable notifications I get this message: “Failed to setup notification. Please try again later.” Any ideas?

    • I am aware of this issue. I have pushed 1.6 yesterday and hopefully will resolve it (if it gets through certification today).

      Please keep me updated if this persists after 1.6.


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