Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

Snappli Responds

Monday morning, Snappli posted the results of a study of user traffic they’d done which suggested that only 4% of their users were using Apple Maps once per day. Not only did I doubt their numbers were representational of an actual 1-in-25 user base, I questioned how they managed to acquire such data:

Due to the word choice, I am left with the impression that they’re measuring the number of users opening up Maps on their iPhones. But if that is the case and they’re able to isolate individual launches of the app, that seems like a glaring abuse of reasonable expectations of privacy.

It looks like this hunch was correct. In an update posted to Snappli’s blog, they note that they weren’t just measuring data usage:

We were keen to provide visibility into actual usage rather than anecdotal evidence. To that end, we were looking to see if we could detect any anonymized traffic from the Apple Maps app on any given day. We were not looking at the total amount of data used by the app. Our goal was to measure popularity, not how data hungry the app was, nor the impact of vector graphics.

This still doesn’t sit right with me. It may be anonymous, but my location going through yet another third-party’s servers seems wrong.