There’s been a lot of consternation on the Internet this week about the announcements by Smile with their new TextExpander 6 product at textexpander.com. I invited Smile founder Greg Scown onto the show to explain their thinking and to allow me to ask him some tough questions. It was hard for me to do because TextExpander is a beloved product and the company Smile has shown themselves over the many years to care deeply about their customers. In fact, when I recently surveyed listeners about the first five apps they add to a new Mac, TextExpander was in the top three. It’s important to note that Smile is not an advertiser for the NosillaCast.
Here’s an outline of what I asked Greg. You’ll need to listen to hear his answers:
Sharing is the big new feature of TextExpander 6.
- I have to be honest, I don’t think that I have a need to share my snippets with anyone. Even when I was working in large teams at work, I never felt the need for this. I have trouble convincing other people that haven’t used a text expansion program that they should even start using one. What research do you have to show that users need/want to share snippets??
Sharing on TextExpander 6 is through their own web service, not using Dropbox or iCloud:
- Syncing is notoriously difficult. We’ve all suffered duplicate contacts, duplicate photos and all the other fallout of poorly designed syncing tools. Why did you decide to design your own syncing tools instead of using those that are already built like Dropbox and iCloud (which still has its problems)
- In your documentation you say that our snippets will travel over secure connections, but they will be stored in plain text. Obviously my audience is way too well educated to store passwords and social security numbers in TextExpander, but the aggregate of someone’s snippets would be a terrific attack vector for a phishing attack.
From my snippets you’d know my name, home address, phone number, email address, tools I use, people I communicate with, places I’ve worked, my mechanic’s phone number. That’s a pretty good place to start with a phishing attack.
- Why aren’t you encrypting our data as it would if it were in Dropbox or iCloud?
TextExpander 6 is only available through subscription pricing:
- There has been a great deal of conversation online about the new subscription pricing. I think two factors are biggest in people’s minds.
- They are weary of monthly bills piling up and feel it makes them lose control of when they can afford to spend money
- The pricing of the monthly subscription is much higher than they’ve been paying to buy TextExpander outright and buy all of the updates. Some math is showing it as around 2X the previous price. With competition out there, how do you justify this sizable price increase to your customers?
Smile also announced TextExpander Windows beta – this is huge news! I know if you google “is there a TextExpander for Windows” you get about a zillion hits.
- If people have bought Breevy from 16Software.com to sync their TextExpander snippets back and forth with Windows, will this be disabled if they go to TextExpander 6?
- Can you explain how TextExpander works with respect to logging into the service? For example, what if I’m without network access for an extended period of time? Will my snippets still work for an extended period without Internet access?