TUAW reader Jeremy sent us an email this morning wondering why the Live Local Search feature of the app is now a paid feature, when it was free on the first version that was released. This clever feature used an internet connection to find nearby points of interest, even though the maps and bulk of the POI database are on the app itself. It was a great way to keep the app up to date, using a blend of static maps and info with an internet supplement.
With the latest update to the app (version 8.0.0.096) that feature is now part of a US$19.99 annual update that also adds real time traffic updates and gas price searches.
At first blush, it seems like features should not be taken away in an update. I contacted ALK, the app developer, and received a response from spokesperson Mary Kelly:
"Local Search was included in the first release of the App as a taster of this premium feature. We did not advertise it as being an included feature in our original App or at any time promote it as being included. In fact it was listed on the App description as a premium service 'coming soon'. We may offer similar trials for a limited period for other services in the future. The Live Services which we promote as 'included as standard' remain so, namely: LiveLink location sharing and Live Weather."
The company apologizes for any confusion. CoPilot Live still remains a pretty good deal for a low-end navigation service. I found quite a few map errors and omissions, but the company has set up a mechanism for people to report any problems with the accuracy of the maps.
I can understand users being upset at losing the feature, and ALK should have made it more clear that Live Local Search was just a temporary sampler of a future paid service.