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Brad Fitzpatrick
hacker, drinker, gopher
hacker, drinker, gopher

Brad's posts

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Google Music just discarded data I spent years creating without warning

So, my music collection is in Google Music. Ironic, yes, but I was an employee there at the time that I uploaded it all, and by the time I realized that was a mistake, trying to pull my data back out didn't seem quite worth the effort.

Well, the product just went through a UI redesign. Before the redesign, there was an option to rate songs on a 5-star scale rather than thumbs up/down. I used that to carefully curate my collection, and I very commonly actually took advantage of the ratings to optimize playlists for quality vs. variety depending on my mood.

After the redesign, thumbs up/down is now the only option. There is no way, in the UI, to see my existing ratings. There is no public API. Essentially, Google Music just deleted a bunch of my data with no warning. (It may be possible to recover using one of the unofficial projects that have reverse-engineered the private API; I'll find out this afternoon.)

Introducing an aesthetic design change that I don't care for is one thing, and as much as I dislike it I understand that product designers cannot satisfy everyone's tastes at once. But taking data I spent literally 15 years building and making it inaccessible to me without any warning is completely unacceptable. You cannot do that. This should go without saying. You must, at the very least, offer a way to download the data as an archive or something.

I know how this conversation went at Google:

Designer: It would be easier for me to make a simple, beautiful design if I didn't have to design for two different rating systems.
PM: Our stats show that less than 1% of users use the 5-star rating feature (which is buried in the options that no one ever looks at). Let's just remove it.
Engineer: But... I use that.
PM: You're an engineer. You aren't representative of the general population. We don't care what you think.

This pattern happened over and over again in my last few years at Google.

It seems that all data stored in Google products is now at-risk, particularly if you use any niche features. I thought "the cloud" was supposed to keep my data safe.

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35 laps around the sun as of today.

(Thanks to +Katrina Sostek for finding this random video. And the FAQ:

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Teaching Argentines "football".
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When I'm not on vacation I normally "file bugs" (i.e. whine on Google's internal G+) , but since I am still technically on vacation, here's a fun one that I'll share publicly.

I have no clue what Google Now was thinking.

And this is with me dogfooding nothing. (stock Android, stock Chrome, stock gmail, etc...)

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One of several highlights hiking in Patagonia near El Chaltén: Laguna Piedras Blancas. This was our first amazing find from a 12 hour, 26+ mile hike.

This was after 10 miles walking to the trailhead to save 200 pesos ($14) because we thought it was 3 miles, and 5 miles of navigating "south" (including use of a compass), since +Erin Earl and I only had a cartoon map (not to scale) and Google Maps with no details and digital compasses we didn't trust, and ended up hiking on the "wrong" side of the river. Turns out a trail was on the other side. But our side got us access to this.

After 17 miles we found a proper trail. And a sign apologizing for the poor condition of the trail. In comparison it felt like an airport people mover.

More photos to follow, once I have a computer and decent network.
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