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19 comments

  • Official comment
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    Chris Hill

    Yes, it's true. We're really excited about it!
    You can read more about it in this article that we published this morning: https://blog.gaiagps.com/gaia-gps-joins-outside/

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    5stone

    How soon until we get the inevitable "Privacy Policy Update" email that informs us (if we care to read the legalese) that usage data and customer information will now be shared amongst all of the digital platforms within the Pocket Outdoor Media empire (in order to serve us better.... of course)?

    I for one hope to retain a level of control over my personal information. I don't interact with ANY of the other platforms Pocket owns nor would I want my information (ESPECIALLY MY LOCATION INFORMATION) shared with those other brands for ANY reason.

    I'm here strictly for Gaia's utility and functionality, not any potential "cross pollination" of content (which would clutter Gaia's UI, which I rely on to keep me safe in the backcountry. Period.).

    Nor am I particularly impressed by brands like Backpacker, which has, for a long time, just been a seemingly uncritical shill for the outdoor industry's latest gear in exchange for ad revenue (which is why I stopped reading it long ago, but that's a whole 'nother ball of wax).

    If the Gaia user base gets tons of new trails added so they display on the Gaia Topo map so we can use the important snap to feature, if we finally get the ability to show/hide folders on the web, and other long awaited functions such as these, then okay, great. But if the development road map switches to personal information data sharing and injecting other brands' content INTO the Gaia web and app pairing, then my tenure in this ecosystem may be short lived.

    Remember what makes Gaia different and great; don't try and change the core value proposition to compete with other platforms who have a vastly different mandate (gear reviews, trip reports, tips and other fluffy content pieces). Trying to be a jack of all trades will end up being a diluted master of none. 

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    5stone

    The details within the new "privacy" policy are very......interesting. I recommend that you don't just gloss over the email intro to the policy we all received yesterday (email intros to privacy changes are another industry tactic used to keep you from delving into the actual policy statements themselves; media companies have uniformly adopted them as a "Cliff's Notes" tactic). Read the policy. One of the more open and permissive uses of user data across a media conglomerate that I've seen. Which, of course, is b/c Outside Media. They seemed to have reserved every "right" to use any and all user data in every possible way. They can now do anything with your data, will freely distribute and sell your data and will obtain and aggregate additional data from third party companies in order to target you more effectively. And it's unclear, at least to me, if they also own, or at least can use, however they want, your content. For example, your photos. What about any notes you have written about your track/route/folder? I think it's also safe to assume that your current geolocation and your location history are fair game at any point. Obviously make sure to close the app when you're not using it. Don't let it run in the background as it'll likely be tracking you then too, even if you're not recording and doing an explicit outdoor activity. All to serve you better, of course. 

    For folks new to data and privacy, here's a super easy to understand primer on what these kinds of changes mean for you and your family:

    https://www.apple.com/privacy/docs/A_Day_in_the_Life_of_Your_Data.pdf 

    Like MCDONJW above, I love the Gaia app and the ecosystem and use it almost daily (as rough around the edges as it continues to be) but this is really a shot across the bow in terms of where they're (and let's be serious, we're now talking Outside's executive management team) now going and how they really expect to make more money (as part of Outside). Don't expect a lot of new, functional, useful features and fixes that don't lead to "monetization" opportunities; expect "features" that try and get you to interact with other Outside brands, leverage your data for advertising and promotional uses both inside and outside the Outside digital ecosystem (yes, selling your data to external third parties), etcetera etcetera. And from what another user mentioned (and I'm clueless here but wouldn't be surprised), increases in subscription fees. 

    I guess I'm not surprised so much as disillusioned as I've put so much (literally) blood, sweat and tears into this ecosystem and am seriously bummed that it will now be looking over my should at every turn. Sigh.

     

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    Gary Fulton

    Another great app heads to the Johnny crapper after being purchased by big media company.  Time to start looking again. 

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    5stone

    And to answer my question above about the privacy policy update with all sorts of new personal data use? Four months, that’s how long it took.

    And they sent it at 5pm MST on the Friday of a long holiday weekend! Why? So it would have the best chance of flying under the radar and going unseen. Wow. Wonder whose idea that timing was. 
    “Our policy will permit us to combine data that we receive from and about you with data that we may receive from other sources as a way to better offer you customized content, and to provide targeted offers and advertising that may be of interest to you”

    ”Our new privacy policy also explains how we use and share personal data, including sharing data across the Outside family of brands, and with our service providers to support business, professional, marketing, analytics, and technical functions necessary to help us operate our business and promote our services.”

    get ready, here come the monetization opportunities, goodbye privacy. Sigh. 

     

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    anthony.cree

    I agree.  Gaia is a great app and has always seemed like a good company.  Can't really say that about others in the POM empire.  Funding for new features is great, and I hope it happens.  Can't say I'm very optimistic that a great app joining a bunch of mediocre enterprises is going to improve the great one. 

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    anthony.cree

    CalTopo is the next best app.  Better than Gaia on the web, not as good in app form.   But an independent and by all accounts trustworthy company.  Like Gaia was. 

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    clifford.smith

    Does anyone know of a good alternative to Gaia GPS? The new Terms of Use and Privacy Policy should be unacceptable to everyone. It's frankly alarming. :(

     

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    anthony.cree

    That would be seriously disappointing.

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    tplusfive

    Bummed to hear this. Gaia has been a great app and I can’t think of a time where a great app was purchased by a big company and the app got better. I have seen more than once where the app got remade into something I didn’t like. I have no optimism that a big company will do better than this small business has done.

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    MCDONJW

    I agree with 5Stone’s earlier prophesy four months ago and the result that came out from the new owners yesterday. I’ve been a Gaia premium customer for a long time, loved the app, but upon reading the privacy notice (privacy being a complete misnomer) deleted all of my tracks, photos, the app, and cancelled my subscription.

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    5stone

    If I were to ask for a positive outcome with regards to the monetization we're seeing with the new privacy policies (increased exploitation of our data, which increases profits, yet subscription prices stay the same) I would ask for granular privacy and data controls. Facebook privacy controls (which took them a long time to implement, forcibly, by public outcry and government pressure) are an interesting example. You can go into the app and control a huge range of data usage and monitoring functionality. Such controls give the sheep (us) some control of when/what/how/where our data is monitored and monetized. Should Outside Media implement some of these data privacy best practices, I would feel much more comfortable. Do I think this will happen? No. Why? Smaller media companies like this will stay under the radar, leveraging the most advantageous privacy policies possible, letting the bigger (e.g. Facebook) companies take the heat while reaping the benefits, all of the benefits, as long as possible until forced to change behavior. 

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    5stone

    Ahem. Culture and ethics go out the window when money is involved. It's sad, but most small companies don't survive these kind of buyouts with their culture and ethics intact. Sure, there's initial "let's make the transition smooth" talk about one big happy family, preserving what you all have built, proud of your heritage, we'll maintain your vision kind of stuff but down the road (and this one was quick), the real strategies reveal themselves, which we're seeing with the data/privacy policy stuff happening now.  

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    clifford.smith

    I had submitted a post to this forum a few days back asking about the changes to the terms of use and privacy policy. It still has not appeared on the forum. I don't want to think that's intentional, but I think they need to have some form of response to their subscribers about this change, don't you think?

    Not that I think it will change anything, but at least respond. They owe us that as subscribers / customers.

    Finding this post is also getting difficult given the default sort order. I think they're hoping people will just not notice or pay attention to the change.

    A sad day for sure. I really liked the product and used it frequently!

     

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    kvangork

    I agree with everything you fellow fans have said so far. From the spot-on predictions to the calls for Gaia GPS to respond.

    mostly-copying my own post from another similar thread:

    I'm very disturbed at the implications of everything in that new privacy policy. Particularly the report that Outside has shared "biometric information" and sold "biographical information" in the past 12 months.

    Gaia GPS team, it would be very helpful if you posted some clarification of what your email meant by this phrase: "While the privacy policy may not reflect how we use your data today at Gaia GPS"

    Is the implication that our Gaia GPS user content and personal information is now or will be soon used in all the ways described in the Outside policies? If not, for the sake of user trust please have your new lawyers create a privacy policy (specific and scoped only to Gaia GPS users and data) that reflects how you do and will continue to use our information.

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    clifford.smith

    I think that Outside has told them to just ride it out. They'll lose a few subscribers, but most won't pay attention to the policy changes. Sad, but probably true. Sure doesn't seem to fit the culture and ethics of company that Andrew and the team founded.

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    dms1

    Turns out it is true, saw it on their FB page. Interesting that there is nothing mentioned on the web page or even a confirmation in this thread.

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    thekilfoiles

    I find this objectionable. I’d terminate now but I guess they’ll mine some data for about 2 weeks. I don’t have a plan B on Nav. I wonder if Trailsoffroad knew this.

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    RtMichigan

    I had to login to Facebook to use the app. I couldn’t access the app before logging in.
    I have paid for the app for years because it works off line. If I were in a remote location I would of been screwed, because I have always trusted Gaia. Not any more, just cancel my subscription.
    Time for a new app. 

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