in iOS, journalling, tech

Thursday was an important milestone for Day One and its users. The launch of the Day One browser extensions marks a time when the Day One team is ready to launch API based products outside of their default apps, a somewhat return to the time when Day One 1.0 was a beautiful, open garden of apps and services that could plug-in (and out) without much trouble. Day One 2.0 robbed a lot of people of those options and these browser extensions allow us to come back into the fold.

I’m not under the impression that this means that Day One will suddenly be as open and accepting as it once was. No, the walled garden that the team has created will remain. Their promises to end-to-end encrypt all data (while allowing complete access through their API), their wish to remain free of third-party sync services such as Dropbox, and their interest in keeping their company growing, mean that Day One is never headed back to the old days.

But that doesn’t mean things can’t move forward to a good place. Of course, with the launch of Day One Premium, what that good place is, is a little unclear. Yesterday, while launching extensions on Instagram, the Day One team answered a few questions and that gives us a hint of how things are going to work from now on.

Let’s first summarize what we understand of the customer ‘levels’ for the Day One service –

  1. Basic – This is a new tier. If you download the Day One app today (or are a Day One Classic user updating to Day One 2.0 today), on iOS or Mac, you’ll be a free user. All your data will be saved locally on the device which you use and any time you want to a. Create multiple journals, or b. Sync your data to the Day One Sync service, you’ll be prompted to pony up and become a Premium member.
  2. Premium – This too is a new tier. If you want to sync your data across devices, get access to the encrypted journals feature, support Day One in their awesome venture, and get 25% off print book orders), you get to buy into the Day One subscription service. It’s currently $35/year for new users and $25/year for older users, as explained in the FAQ.
  3. Plus – This is the new name for the old tier. If you downloaded Day One 2.0 on any platform before the Premium tier was introduced, this is where you stand. You get access to Day One Sync, get to make up to 10 journals, get access to data encryption, use cloud services such as IFTTT, etc.

Here’s what you don’t get with the Plus subscription –

  1. If you bought Day One on one platform (iOS or Mac) before Premium was launched, and bought it (for free) on the other platform after, you don’t get Sync between devices. You can still export your Day One journal and import it at the other end, but that’s just too cumbersome.
  2. Similarly, you don’t get access to more than 10 journals, and can have no more than 10 images per post.

But yesterday’s release taught me something interesting –

Day One is still a company that cares for its users. So, it seems that if you’re a Plus member, many future features and launches will work for you. Day One browser extensions currently work only with unencrypted journals. However, since Plus members do get access to encryption and Sync, in the future, it’s possible that support for end-to-end encryption will be added to the extensions and as a Plus member, you’ll still be able to use them.

Similarly, right now IFTTT is the only third-party sync service allowed to plug into Day One. You can use it in a lot of ways – saving your Instagram posts to Day One, emailing an entry into Day One, stashing away your tweets, your weight (using Withings), the day’s weather, your Instapaper Likes, and your Evernote entries.

But I suspect that when Day One launches their API, Plus members will definitely get access to it. They’ll get access to it for both encrypted and unencrypted journals, and will be able to use a lot of the tools and services they were using with Day One 1.0, updated to work with the API, of course. This seems not only likely, it seems definitive with the way the Day One team launched the browser extension.

Why am I even talking about Plus? It would seem that most future users of Day One will be either Basic or Premium members, right? But most of their current users are Plus members. On top of that, I believe that a large percentage of Day One users fall in one of two categories – they either have only on Apple device (iOS or Mac) and so don’t care for a lot of Premium features, or they went ahead and bought both Mac and iOS apps, and so they didn’t get affected by being pushed into the Plus tier either.

However, I am part of a significant majority which either want Day One access on Windows or Android. This is why understanding the Day One team’s motives behind every move they make is important to me. From what I’ve understood, they’ve got nothing but good intentions when it comes to treating Plus users with fairness, even if it comes at the cost of Premium subscriptions in the short-term.

Future Day One apps (for Windows and Android) will be free and siloed the way the new versions of the iOS and Mac apps are. You’ll have to be a Premium user in order to sync between these devices. But the devices on which you’re a Plus member right now will give you a pretty premium experience, and any third party tie-ins and API based features should be available to Plus members without having to move to the subscription model.

Of course, with the launch of the browser extensions, the Day One team has solved a very big problem – getting journal entries in, on Windows (and Mac for iOS-only) for Plus users. That saves people like me from a lot of time and effort!

p.s. According to the Day One team, Day One Classic is still around, just not under active development. Most of us (specially if you read till the end), have moved on to Day One 2.0, but if you download the Day One Classic app (or still have it installed on your system), Day One Sync is still working on it and syncing to it. So if you have that, keep using it!