High quality products were made for many years with no analytics, just by thoughtful design, using the product yourself, and gathering some feedback from users manually. Even without statistically representative data from some large target population, you can use your brain to figure out what goes wrong and how to make a good product.
And I think lots of products today are quite annoying because of bad decisions based on flawed analytics data. It's hard work to run a good experiment and avoid confounding correlations and plain bugs that throw off the results, and practically nobody today does the hard work. They just run the analytics, get some flawed buggy numbers, interpret them without sufficient care and thoughtfulness, and push through bad design changes. We're data-driven! We're just not looking at the road.
I'd use anything else for the slowness alone if I could decide the tools at work myself.
The best part is that 10 years ago I used to have an absolute piece of dog shit WinCE phone that failed to even keep up with my typing speed in its stock SMS app. Google Maps worked perfectly on that device.
And it is even worse in firefox than in chrome.
It takes 30s to 1 min to load(!).
It has cached last view, which loads fast.. then it goes unresponsive for bloody 30s to 1 min anyways.
3 different machines were used to test this - i5 6th gen laptop, i7 7th gen pc, i7 3rd gen pc - all of them with plenty of ram(at least 16gb).
So they're driving down the time it takes to do what they magically infer I'm trying to do. Is this why whenever I try to organize my gmail box I give up 10 minutes in because the UI is slow and bullshit? Because it's good for metrics that I can't make my gmail account anywhere near as useful as my work email?
Most certainly you could misuse the statistics for blind number worshipping, and I’m sure there are many anecdotes of that kind of behaviour. But I’m also quite certain that successful organizations can use these to improve their products in meaningful ways. I suspect any gmail product manager who tried to slow down their product (or resisted fixes) to improve meaningless time spent metrics would be crucified.
The freedom and transparency we got from PCs where you can always know what is going on, with some caveats, is missing from all other platforms. And it's really worrying.
But I agree, it's a serious problem. The abuse has become so widespread that I am now in favour of heavyweight statutory regulation and severe penalties for violations. I don't see any other way we come back from this situation now. Competition in the market has utterly failed.
On phones, things have gotten much worse. Although you can flash a relatively open ROM in case of Android, good luck controlling what the baseband does behind the scenes.
And if we talk about cars and other devices like smart watches, there's often zero openness.
I actually have a lot of sympathy with that one, because radio transmission is one of those areas where one idiot who thinks he's clever and should have total control of his device can literally disrupt entire networks for everyone else over a wide area, with the obvious serious consequences. Modern wireless communications systems rely much more than most people realise on conventions and standards and everything playing nice, so regulating such that only licensed practitioners are authorised to make parts that transmit within prescribed specifications is not an absurd idea.
Of course, that doesn't mean a closed part of the system like radio control should have any access to any other part of the system. It ought to be essentially a firewalled client of the more open parts of the system. And if it's going to be regulated and controlled then the people licensed to develop those components should be required to have them only perform the defined function according to standardised specs, without anything else piggybacking on top.
Right now we don't know whether for example it's even powered when your phone is on airplane mode and collecting data.
I'll just leave this here.
I agree with this, and it seems to create a self-fulfilling prophecy.
I believe this to be responsible for the decline in Apple’s various device OSs.
On a browser, it's drive-by, and your ability to track users is gone once they leave your site, especially with vendors like Mozilla and Apple implementing third-party cookie blockers by default and the ubiquity of adblock.
On a phone, if you install something, you'll probably leave it for at least a few days, and if you watch logcat, you'll notice that many of these apps are anything but patiently waiting for the user to decide open it up again.
There is a way to hijack the back button, i have no idea if it has been fixed, there are also tracking cookies so they can track you cross sites anyway.
I bet they'd say they would have.
Source: I am basically the person you are talking about, in one of my current roles.