Yaware Time Tracker review

The crowded field of screenshot monitoring software is getting even more crowded with a new contender from Ukraine – Yaware Time Tracker. Lets review how it works and how well it matches with our current favorite – Screenshot Monitor.

Getting Started

After a single sign up you are greeted with this simple option screen on Yaware website:

welcome

Client application

Like the majority of competitors, Yaware Time Tracker offers Windows, Linux and Mac clients. Let’s install the Windows agent and run it. The Yaware setup runs without asking any questions or a login and then just slips into the tray. When you click on it, it shows this:

agent

Well, I am confused. Is Yaware Time Tracker connected to my account? Does it track, doesn’t it track?

Settings

Let’s get into the Settings in the Yaware dashboard. We see that screenshot monitoring is disabled by default, lets enable it along with Webcam Snapshots (scary!). This is what we see:

settingsIn most of other similar applications users start and stop monitoring themselves. In Yaware Time Tracker it is done the opposite way – it is running all the time by default and users are allowed to pause for up to a day.

There’s also an option not to display the tray icon effectively making the agent to run in the spy mode:

spy

Well, at least the default settings still display the tray icon.

There’s nothing to see in the reports so far, so while we are continue being confused and waiting for something to appear, lets check what options they have in the control panel.

User management on Yaware website looks like this:

User

Would be nice 10 years ago but now frankly unimpressive. Not a deal breaker either as probably gets job done.

Categorization options try to put all of applications and URLs into categories like Accounting, Development, Games and set their productivity as Productive, Neutral and Distracting:categories

The immediate question that such approach raises – is it realistic to classify everything that matters. Most probably users will just use whatever default settings they get and majority of application and settings fall into neutral category, thus defeating the purpose of such classification. Probably better approach would be to create such classification in a single database on the web and let users deal with exceptions only.

Dashboard

Case in point – we’ve returned to Dashboard to see what data was collected:Dashboard

It shows the time I was active at the computer, but with everything is uncategorized  and grey, how to make sense if employee was working or not? A click on the bar brings us to a screen that details more specifically what applications and URLs were most used:

details

Reports

Let’s get deeper into Reports menu. Most of the menu options have so little information and make so little sense that they do not even deserve a screenshot.

Here’s the Timesheet page that is way to complicated for me to figure out, but potentially could be useful for office attendance tracking:

attendance

Here’s another failed attempt in Report By Categories to categorize the activities:

Categories2

Finally let’s get to the interesting part – the Screenshots:

screenshots

If you click on individual thumbnail – it is presented in a larger version:

screen2

How can anyone find it useful just baffles me! The image is still so tiny that it makes no sense. Screenshot Monitor allows you just to click on it an see the image zoomed 100% – why such basic functionality is missing here?!!

Webcam snapshots did not work at all – probably require additional configuration:

webcam

And frankly for the better. This functionality creeps me out.

Summary

If I was an employee –  I would vehemently hate Yaware Time Tracker that can run in a spy mode, can take webcam snapshots without my knowledge and can not be shut down, only suspended for some time. It probably violates a whole bunch of privacy laws (especially in Europe), breaks all the rules of ethical employee monitoring, gives bad name to employee monitoring software and sets unhealthy mistrustful work environment.

Yaware Time Tracker is useless to freelance or remote employee tracking since with so little control from employee no one in their right mind would want to run it on their computers outside of office. It is squarely focused on office attendance and activity tracking. Despite snazzy public site, the internal (control panel) website has outdated interface, screenshots are not useful, reports are plenty, but not well thought out. The approach to make user classify all of applications and websites is questionable and in our opinion less than optimal.  Yes, the product can be sold and used, but if companies review the competition – 9 out of 10 would be better served with something like Toggl or Screenshot Monitor. The real question is will this startup have enough time to develop into something meaningful before they run out of money. In its current shape and form Yaware Time Tracker is not competitive.

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