Downloading a piece of software now may be more difficult than it was ten years ago

To surf on the contemporary Internet, you need a lot of skills, one of which is knowing how to download software.

"No, no? No? No one really won't download software, right?" When they see the text above, some people may mutter like this in their hearts.

In fact, even if you are an intellectual who has been "Internet age" for more than ten years, it is easy to have trouble downloading software. When you search for software that is not available in the official store on your browser, you will see a bunch of "safe download", "high-speed download", "one-click download", "download now", "direct download", "Android download" , "Click to download" and other download buttons.

When you click on one of the buttons with confidence, you find that the download is not the software you want, but a third-party application store, or even other unrelated software. A certain F word may be blurted out.

This phenomenon is particularly obvious in the Android and Windows markets.

Downloading a piece of software is a process of fighting wits and courage

As a photographer, Snapseed is an indispensable software in my mobile phone. Its powerful and simple retouching tool made me a big fan of it, and it took 7 years to use it.

After becoming a worker in the field of technology and digital, I naturally came into contact with many new machines. Whenever you download software for a new mobile phone, due to the different richness of software stores of various brands, such as Snapseed belonging to Google, it may not be found in the software store.

▲ Realme mall on the left, vivo mall on the right

So the easiest way is to download from the official website. However, for this type of foreign software, it is generally necessary to have a strong Internet access ability to enter the official website. For users who are too lazy to study, the easiest way is to search through Baidu and download it from a third-party website.

For example, I use a realme mobile phone and enter "Snapseed" on the browser to search. The default Baidu search engine will list me many downloadable addresses.

The one with the highest ranking is a seemingly great solution. Look at its description and click "Download" directly to get the latest version of Snapseed. However, after clicking "Download", the pop-up window that appears shows that the name of the installation package is not "Snapseed", but "App Treasure".

▲Yingbao is a software platform that belongs to Tencent

After closing the pop-up window, I tried to enter the page by clicking the title, looking for the "correct" download link. After entering the next page, I saw the huge "free download" at first glance. "Don't want to lie to me," I thought to myself, the small print below "normal download" is the real download channel.

As a result, I was too young. No matter which download link I clicked, the software I downloaded was an "app treasure". And the pop-up window of "Normal Download" displays a string of English characters, which is more confusing.

After exiting the page, I continued to scroll down. The second search result is a very obvious advertisement, selling tutorials for retouching software such as Snapseed.

Looking further down, I found another download address. With an attitude of giving it a try, I clicked "Download now". The bet was right this time, and it turned out to be Snapseed. But the version is too old. Whether it is the software logo or the interface, I once thought that it was a few years ago.

So I went back to the search page and continued to look for the new version of the software download link. Then I was attracted by the title of the "99 Game" website. The description of "Snapseed Chinese Version", 100% fit my needs.

However, after downloading it, it was found that it was still an old version of the software . This made me start to doubt life.

Continue to search, and finally found a relatively new Snapseed on the "easy play" website. This time there are still two download buttons, one is "download now", and the other is green and more eye-catching "safe download". If you look closely, you will find two lines of small print below the download link, reminding that the "safe download" leads to the "360 assistant".

After clicking "download now", I finally used Snapseed. Although it is the 2018 version, it is a bit weaker in functionality compared to the latest version, but at least it can do some basic processing of the pictures.

For "old drivers", they may already be familiar with these Internet routines.

For example, the two download buttons of the "Ruqi Travel Enterprise Edition" below should intuitively choose "click to download" that is not highlighted in blue, even if the website bluffs "the download file may be risky." Friends who are "innocent" may click "Safe Download" on the side to get a "Qihoo" software mall that they don't need.

The above-mentioned software download experience does not only occur on software such as "Snapseed" and "Ruqi Travel Enterprise Edition". Like software that can't be found in the official store and can't be posted on the official website, the public basically have to go through the above annoying download process.

Windows users said that these routines have been seen

The problem of "difficult to download software" does not only occur on mobile phones, but is more common on computers. And the above routines appeared earlier on the computer side.

If your Internet age is long enough, you should remember the days when Huajun Software Park, Sky Software Station, and Dot Software Park were "three-legged" . At that time, the three major download stations provided netizens with many one-stop installation services. When we are used to installing software, go to the download site and search first.

But I don't know when it started, the download stations began to "fallen". The first stage is to disguise the advertiser's software as a false "click to download" link and guide users to click in the form of pictures.

▲ Picture from: Zhihu user @星星 is fruity

After downloading the installation package, you will find that the software you want has been "replaced by the civet cat". The more troublesome situation is that a software is often bundled with multiple software, such as "xx wallpaper", "xx calendar" and other useless tools.

▲ Picture from: Zhihu user @文刀半虚

So later people began to download software on platforms such as "360 Security Center" and "Jinshan Guardian". However, these platforms are not worry-free. Daily pop-ups such as "one-click repair" and "immediate acceleration" are often linked to "rogue software", and if you don't pay attention, you will be tricked.

▲ Picture from: Zhihu user @徐建

In order to improve its competitiveness, the old-brand download site has begun to transform, and entered the second stage, removing the previously fancy Flash advertisements and exaggerated picture links from the website and turning it into a clean and refreshing appearance. Instead, we have common links such as "High Speed ​​Download" and "Safe Download".

After clicking on these links, a so-called "high-speed downloader" will be automatically downloaded and installed. After the user opened it, he was unknowingly downloaded many rogue software by default, making people really hard to guard against.

In such a "surfing environment", slowly many people get used to downloading software from the official website. Generally speaking, you can download software that is not bundled with other software or programs on the "Product Center" or "Download Center" page of the official website. It is a relatively worry-free way at present.

However, some netizens found that downloading from the official website also requires "how much attention". For example, the "Flash China Special Edition" on Windows will "crazy pop-up"; the homepage of the "Firefox China Special Edition" will have many promotions. For these software, download from the official English website is the correct path.

Can't download software be simpler?

It is not an exaggeration to say that although the software ecosystems of today's systems are much plump compared to ten years ago, the experience of software downloads has instead appeared to be "reversed".

▲ Picture from: thesoftwarereport

Ten years ago, when smartphones were just emerging, basically a platform such as "91 Mobile Assistant" and "Pea Pod" could cover most of the software needed for daily use, and there were not so many routines in various download stations. .

With the prosperity of the software market, the user download experience has regressed, which is indeed a confusing phenomenon of the contemporary Internet.

One of the reasons is that the development of the application store has not kept up with the increase in the number of software.

For some reasons, the application market and supporting services (GMS) provided by Google for Android are generally not available on domestic Andrid phones. This provides a good opportunity for software platform manufacturers to make a fortune, so we see more and more domestic Android software stores.

▲ A wide variety of application stores

I believe that old Android players have installed software such as App Bao, Baidu Mobile Assistant, Pea Pod, and 360 Mobile Assistant. However, as the pie in the software market has grown larger, these third-party software stores have begun to "launch a war." For example, around 2015, pea pods were blocked by Baidu's mobile assistant.

▲ Picture from: Zhihu user @何烨

During the civil war in the third-party software mall, the software stores built by domestic mobile phone manufacturers began to rise, and user groups were quickly divided and recalled. The number of users of self-built software stores of manufacturers such as Xiaomi, Huawei, and OV has begun to surpass third-party software stores.

After the rise of the official software store, although the user experience of commonly used software downloads has been improved, for example, through in-depth permissions, users do not need to confirm or jump multiple times to achieve "one-click installation". But for niche software and software not included in the official mall, the cost of user acquisition and download has become higher.

Official stores such as Huawei, Xiaomi, OV, and OnePlus have varying degrees of software. Some niche software can only be found through certain third-party platforms, which is related to the strictness of the app store's review. Generally speaking, official stores have relatively high requirements for software quality, and some software with single functions or severe homogeneity has been difficult to pass the review.

▲ Picture from: indiamart

Various official malls and many third-party malls have formed a situation similar to "warlord separatism", and they have different software resources. This is in sharp contrast to the "universal" iOS ecosystem. When users use the Android ecosystem with a high degree of freedom, they have to pay some price for this freedom.

Compared with mobile phones, computers in the Windows camp have few brand-customized software stores, and few users download software through the Microsoft Store. Although the types and quantity of software are increasing, the user experience of downloading software still has not made great progress.

▲ Picture from: systwea

Another "pot" that must be mentioned requires search engines to "back".

Ideally, when searching for a software, the user should see the official website of the software in the most conspicuous position and click to enter the official download channel.

But this is still a "luxury hope." Different search engines, input the same software name, the content displayed is different. For example, when searching for "Snapseed", Baidu's most prominent position is the promotion of "Appbao", while Sogou searches for "Sogou Mobile Assistant".

For another example, when I searched for "Ruqi Travel" on Baidu, I scrolled down to Article 7 to see Ruqi Travel's official website. The above 6 items are all advertisements. What's interesting is that two of the first three are links to the official website of competing products (T3 Travel, Huaxiaozhu Taxi), and one is the promotion of "Apps".

However, the phenomenon of "selling dog meat" on some search engines has been around for a long time, and it is not new. Although we are unable to improve the search experience, we can summarize the following experience to make the next download a little easier.

  • To download the software, go to the official website as much as possible and look for the download link on the product page.
  • If there is a "download" button in the results of Baidu search, don't click it.
  • Don't believe in attractive buttons such as "High Speed ​​Download" and "Safe Download", especially platforms such as xx download station and xx software park.
  • Before clicking "download", make sure that there are no small print instructions around the button.
  • Before installing the software, carefully observe whether there is a default check box, otherwise the bundled software may be downloaded by default, especially for Windows computers.

However, if we want to solve this problem from the root, we still have to rely on ecology. For Android users, the most ideal picture is to use the Google Play software store anytime, anywhere. Otherwise, I hope to see that each brand's own application store is full enough, and the application is complete and new enough.

▲Picture from: mobilespyfree

For Windows users, of course, I hope that Microsoft will pay more attention to software stores. After all, the current downloading experience is too bad, not only the number of software is small, but the version is also difficult to describe.

Now that the hardware is fully developed, it is time for manufacturers to spend more time improving the basic software experience of users.

Tell simple and easy-to-read stories. Work email: wanghelong@ifanr.com.

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Ai Faner | Original link · View comments · Sina Weibo