Blog/20140424 Stars are gone from Spotify

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Stars are gone from Spotify

One thing that really drives me round the bend is when you wake up one day and a website/app that you've been using has taken a step back. I don't really understand this - do people not do user testing any more?

One example of this is Google Maps for Mobile: the removal of wikipedia, the removal of custom layers, as well as their "ok maps" "easter egg" for storing cached maps (which was previously more intuitive). Yes, you can use the Google Maps Engine, or Google Earth, but those don't cache, so useless offline. I like using Google Maps for Mobile, and will continue using Google maps for certain things, and there's an advantage of it being integrated with other Google services. However, I'm now using Open Street Maps and OsmAnd when I'd like to use offline maps / custom layers / wikipedia. Plus Googe Maps has long annoyed me by not being able to add stars offline, which is no problem with OsmAnd.

Speaking of adding stars, Spotify recently removed stars in favour of "Your Music". Firstly, you're asking all of your users to learn new stuff. I suspect that the vast majority of users just want to listen to music, rather than learn about new versions of the software. That aside, there's one thing that you cannot do with the new "Your Music" system, which is to follow other users' "Your Music". With stars, you just followed "stars playlists" of other users, and would get nice tips by seeing what your friends liked.

Surely the point of Spotify is exactly that: Musical social networking, seeing what your musical friends like, in case you like it too. So, I would have thought that following "Starred Tracks" of other users was a big thing for many people?? (I am not the first person to comment on this, see e.g. [1].)

The search box in Spotify on start up also has been messed up a bit prior to the launch of this new version. And another thing that has recently annoyed me about Spotify on Android is that, while it used to play back tracks without stuttering, it's not really not playing tracks back well all the time, and the application has dramatic hangs at times. But yes, I suppose playing back music is a minor consideration, when you can now organise your tracks nicely into "Your Music"????!!!!!

So, Spotify, this is not looking good. I have to say I enjoyed your company (and paid for it), but maybe it's time to move on?

(A friend pointed out the vast numbers of typos in this post - well, it was written in a hurry, and I was upset. Bjoern, 29 April 2014)

Edit: Google maps for mobile now has offline maps back, in the sense that there's now a button (at the bottom of the list that comes up when the search box gets focus - well easy to explain). You can manage offline maps by clicking on the little person icon (top right of main screen). Maps stay cached for 30 days and (as before) cannot be searched. OSM stay cached for ... as long as you like, and can be searched. Bjoern 13:06, 11 May 2014 (BST)


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