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5 Reasons You Shouldn’t Trust App Store Reviews

5 Reasons You Shouldn’t Trust App Store Reviews

I challenge you to find the one app here that doesn’t completely blow…

1. Ratings Are Based on Personal Bias

When a customer reviews an app or game, they’re doing so based on their personal experience, which could’ve been 10,000 hours of use or they may have never opened it. As a game and app reviewer, it’s not uncommon for me to install and use hundreds of apps during any given month.

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I write about many of them in blogs, and when I’m especially impressed or disturbed by something, I’ll review it everywhere I can find. I’m especially brutal with game reviews, as I’ve been a dedicated gamer for a large portion of my life and the freemium business model opened the flood gates for a slew of awful games that are nothing more than glitchy and unplayable advertisements with no entertainment value. Keep personal tastes in mind when reading anything.

2. Reviews Aren’t Comprehensive

Don’t just look at the stars – read the entire review. It’s not uncommon to see reviews like “This game sucks” or “I still can’t use flash with this app” in the app stores. While I appreciate the often colorful scenes people paint, they’re not really giving much information. Ok, Evernote doesn’t sync with the 3rd party calendar you use; that’s not a feature I care about, so the review isn’t worthwhile to me. More often than not, the review you’re reading is from someone who barely spent an hour with the app.

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3. The Customer Isn’t Always Right

Anyone who works at a help desk can tell you people are generally not very smart with technology. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard someone talk about some “great new app” they found that changed their lives. I work in the tech industry, and I get dozens of emails a day from developers selling me the same Kool-Aid. Most of the great features discussed in these apps aren’t new, and they’re not very intuitive; just because an app does something doesn’t mean it’s the only app or even the best app doing it. Do more research.

4. Developers Pay PR Companies for Positive Reviews

I’ve worked with marketing, PR, and other consulting companies – it’s not uncommon for companies to pay people for Wikipedia articles, guest blogs, social media reach, and product reviews. You can find these gigs listed everywhere from Fiverr to Craigslist to eLance, and there’s no shortage of people willing to take them. Software developers are no different; they’re trying to take your money like everyone else, and they pay for good reviews. Keep this in mind while browsing app store reviews.

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5. Competition Is Brutal

Not only do developers routinely pay for positive reviews, they also try to undercut the competition by posting negative reviews about competing products. That’s right – those negative experiences you read about may be part of an elaborate marketing scheme meant to deliberately sway your decision.

With so many shenanigans going on, it’s hard to know what to believe anymore. You can never be sure of whether or not an app or game is right for you unless you try it, but there could be a virus or other malware attached, and it could also just be a ploy to harvest your personal information for marketing purposes. Stay vigilant by checking reviews at a variety of trusted outlets, including Gizmodo, here at Lifehack, Tom’s Hardware Guide, CNet, etc. Once you’re sure you want something, download away.

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Last Updated on May 14, 2019

8 Replacements for Google Notebook

8 Replacements for Google Notebook

Exploring alternatives to Google Notebook? There are more than a few ‘notebooks’ available online these days, although choosing the right one will likely depend on just what you use Google Notebook for.

  1. Zoho Notebook
    If you want to stick with something as close to Google Notebook as possible, Zoho Notebook may just be your best bet. The user interface has some significant changes, but in general, Zoho Notebook has pretty similar features. There is even a Firefox plugin that allows you to highlight content and drop it into your Notebook. You can go a bit further, though, dropping in any spreadsheets or documents you have in Zoho, as well as some applications and all websites — to the point that you can control a desktop remotely if you pare it with something like Zoho Meeting.
  2. Evernote
    The features that Evernote brings to the table are pretty great. In addition to allowing you to capture parts of a website, Evernote has a desktop search tool mobil versions (iPhone and Windows Mobile). It even has an API, if you’ve got any features in mind not currently available. Evernote offers 40 MB for free accounts — if you’ll need more, the premium version is priced at $5 per month or $45 per year. Encryption, size and whether you’ll see ads seem to be the main differences between the free and premium versions.
  3. Net Notes
    If the major allure for Google Notebooks lays in the Firefox extension, Net Notes might be a good alternative. It’s a Firefox extension that allows you to save notes on websites in your bookmarks. You can toggle the Net Notes sidebar and access your notes as you browse. You can also tag websites. Net Notes works with Mozilla Weave if you need to access your notes from multiple computers.
  4. i-Lighter
    You can highlight and save information from any website while you’re browsing with i-Lighter. You can also add notes to your i-Lighted information, as well as email it or send the information to be posted to your blog or Twitter account. Your notes are saved in a notebook on your computer — but they’re also synchronized to the iLighter website. You can log in to the site from any computer.
  5. Clipmarks
    For those browsers interested in sharing what they find with others, Clipmarks provides a tool to select clips of text, images and video and share them with friends. You can easily syndicate your finds to a whole list of sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Digg. You can also easily review your past clips and use them as references through Clipmarks’ website.
  6. UberNote
    If you can think of a way to send notes to UberNote, it can handle it. You can clip material while browsing, email, IM, text message or even visit the UberNote sites to add notes to the information you have saved. You can organize your notes, tag them and even add checkboxes if you want to turn a note into some sort of task list. You can drag and drop information between notes in order to manage them.
  7. iLeonardo
    iLeonardo treats research as a social concern. You can create a notebook on iLeonardo on a particular topic, collecting information online. You can also access other people’s notebooks. It may not necessarily take the place of Google Notebook — I’m pretty sure my notes on some subjects are cryptic — but it’s a pretty cool tool. You can keep notebooks private if you like the interface but don’t want to share a particular project. iLeonardo does allow you to follow fellow notetakers and receive the information they find on a particular topic.
  8. Zotero
    Another Firefox extension, Zotero started life as a citation management tool targeted towards academic researchers. However, it offers notetaking tools, as well as a way to save files to your notebook. If you do a lot of writing in Microsoft Word or Open Office, Zotero might be the tool for you — it’s integrated with both word processing software to allow you to easily move your notes over, as well as several blogging options. Zotero’s interface is also available in more than 30 languages.

I’ve been relying on Google Notebook as a catch-all for blog post ideas — being able to just highlight information and save it is a great tool for a blogger.

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In replacing it, though, I’m starting to lean towards Evernote. I’ve found it handles pretty much everything I want, especially with the voice recording feature. I’m planning to keep trying things out for a while yet — I’m sticking with Google Notebook until the Firefox extension quits working — and if you have any recommendations that I missed when I put together this list, I’d love to hear them — just leave a comment!

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