Category: Announcements

Between Scylla and Charybdis: Why We’re Switching the Locations Feature Back to Foursquare

We’re switching the expense locations provider to Foursquare! Back to Foursquare, as it was before April. Don’t let the exclamation mark of the first sentence fool you, it is not one of excitement, rather of frustrated dread.

When making Toshl v2 a few years ago, we thought it would be a cool feature to add the location of the expense or income. Cooler still, with the help of a 3rd party service, we could even show and save the name and info of the exact venue, not just the coordinates.

For this to happen, we chose Foursquare. We used their apps, knew they had a pretty good database of crowdsourced venues and at the time, offered the venues API for free, even for commercial use. Through the years of use and user feedback, we discovered that the coverage could be somewhat patchy in certain countries, but worked well overall. Hell, it was free, save for the attribution and data about which places were the most frequented.

Then earlier this year, a Foursquare representative sent us an email, saying that they’ve changed the terms and now want to charge us the 750 $ (US) per month for location API access. We’re not against paying in principle, they do provide a useful service, but a bait and switch with going from 0 to 750 $ a month was a bit harsh. Especially for a feature that doesn’t represent the core of our service, but is rather a nice add-on for most people.

Therefore we resisted and checked out other providers. Google Places API was an obvious choice. While the quality of location data also varied a bit, the database of venues was very large and we knew Google was definitively committed to keep improving it substantially in the future.

So we added the switch of location providers on our to-do list, updated the backend systems, optimised how the results were fetched and displayed, changed the location provider logos in the apps and launched the new location system with Google’s results on 18th of April 2018.

While Google’s Places API was not free in theory, there was a cap beyond which they started charging. Essentially this made the service free for us, as we didn’t surpass those rather generous caps.

Then on May 3rd, the bomb hit. Google announced they were raising their API prices. By A LOT. You can imagine how happy we were.

We weren’t the only ones:

Insane, shocking, outrageous: Developers react to changes in Google Maps API

There was a 3-month transition period after June 3rd during which they offered some transitional credits to existing customers, but after this, our monthly bill would go from 0 to about 3000 $. Wonderful.

We had a few calls with Google representatives to see if something could be worked out, or if we had misunderstood something, but all we got was a “that’s unfortunate” and a $300 credit for other Google Cloud services.

We obviously looked at other location data providers like HERE, TomTom, Mapbox and others, but very few offer worldwide coverage and even when they do, it can be pretty patchy and imprecise.

Perhaps that’s also because during the last decade Google offered these location services below cost, thus stifling stronger competition that might have otherwise developed.

 

So long story short, the locations of your expenses and incomes in Toshl apps will again be provided by Foursquare. We apologise for any inconvenience that might have caused, as the locations on both platforms don’t always match completely. As you can probably tell from above, our choices were somewhat limited. We hope the location function will work well, consistently and hopefully without further pricing shocks in the future.

 

 

Posted in Announcements, Development

Keyboard Shortcuts (Web App)

When using Toshl Web App to record the latest expenses and monitor your personal finance, it is now possible to navigate through the functions quickly just by using your keyboard.

 

Keyboard shortcuts:

  • Keyboard shortcuts list  –  ?

General

  • Create a new expense  –  e
  • Create a new income  –  i
  • Create a new transfer  –  t
  • Move between fields  –  tab
  • Save  –  cmd / ctrl + s
  • Cancel action/close  –  esc

Time span

  • Move to my current financial month  –  m
  • Move to next month  –  n
  • Back to previous month  –  b
  • All time  –  
  • Display calendar year  –  2018, 2019, …

Notifications

  • Dismiss top notification  –  d t
  • Dismiss all notifications  –  d a

Navigation

  • Main screen  –  g m
  • Expense  –  g e
  • Incomes  –  g i
  • Planning  –  g p
  • Budgets  –  g b
  • Locations  –  g l

 

Check the list of shortcuts in the Web App at any time by selecting the link in the bottom left corner, or by pressing ? on your keyboard (combination of keys for this will depend on the keyboard settings on your computer).

 

 

Example: saving an expense using keyboard shortcuts

 

To create a new expense, press the e key. After opening the form, first enter the amount as usual. To move to the next field for the selection of a category, use the Tab key. To enter the desired category, begin typing its name and the list of suggestions will be brought up automatically. Navigate down the list with the arrow keys and confirm your selection by pressing enter.

Input the tags in the same way. You can of course add more than one, and confirm them by pressing enter. Move to the next field with the tab key again.

Don’t forget that it is possible to cancel any action, or close the form completely, by pressing the Esc key at any time. If you currently have the focus in any field, Esc will first move the focus out of the field. Second press of Esc will close the add entry form completely and discard the entered data.

When selecting the date of your expense, it is possible to simply input the day, month and year by typing in the numbers. Move left and right through the form with the arrow keys, and confirm your input by pressing enter.

Your expense is now ready to be saved, since all the required information – the amount, category and date – are set. Pressing the tab key again will move the selection onto the Save button, or you can simply use the shortcut Cmd / Ctrl + s.

To reveal the options to save additional information with your expense, press tab again and confirm the highlighted “Show more” option .

For the location details, browse through the list of suggestions or enter the details manually. Use this trick with a comma to simplify the search.

When you’re done, continue down the list, and confirm the expense input with the Save button or the Cmd / Ctrl + s shortcut.

 

Try using the rest of the shortcuts on your own, such as quickly navigating through the sections in the main menu, time spans, or switching through next or previous months with n and b. 

Where multiple keys are written with just space in between, for example g m, they can be pressed in rapid succession to activate. You don’t need to hold them simultaneously.

Where multiple keys are written with a + in between, for example Cmd / Ctrl + S, they need to be pressed simultaneously to work. Cmd means Command and is used on Macs, while the same shortcut is used with Ctrl (Control) on Windows.

 

Forms for incomes and transfer work the same way, and the option to set repeats, reminders and photos with expenses and incomes becomes available with Toshl Pro or Toshl Medici subscriptions.

 

When going through forms, Toshl monster is a true ninja – fast, efficient, deadly, and dressed all in black. It’s the new orange.

 

Posted in Announcements, Tutorials, Web App Tutorials

Toshl Medici Bank Connections Available in Canada

We are so sorry!

The Toshl team is proud to announce an expansion to our Toshl Medici service. We have added the Canadian banking system into the fold which means the Toshl Medici plan is available to our Canadian users as well!

This means we are currently providing seamless bank account integration to all of our US and Canadian based users with over nine thousand different banking institutions. And in accordance with a proud Canadian tradition – we are so sorry!

By connecting your bank or other financial service, like PayPal for example, you are able to track the expenses more precisely with less hassle. You can also add your account from selected cryptocurrency exchanges for that extra oomph or gentle heart-attack in the morning.

The Medici plan is free for a month, but if you want to join the family permanently, the plan monthly cost is 4,34 $CA or 3,33 $US. For more details, see the features and pricing of the Medici plan

89 Canadian financial institutions or types of financial accounts are available at launch. Log in on the web app to see the full list of available bank connections.

Some of the more popular options include:

Posted in Announcements

Helping Your Financial Super Ego Win Over Id’s Nefarious Spending

The Toshl monsters made us do it. We just had to. They must have triggered something deep in our subconsciousness. We needed to do something to commemorate the 95-th anniversary of the release of The Ego and the Id, Sigmund Freud’s seminal work on psychodynamics.

 

So we did what we do best. We updated the Toshl Finance web app, thus improving the much needed tools to help your financially prudent super-ego win over your profligate id, at least some of the time.

Here’s what’s new:

  • daily averages for expense and income categories are now available on below the donut graphs
  • where password is required to confirm an action, you can now confirm using social network accounts as well
  • file imports can now detect transfers between accounts  Coming soon. Gradually deploying to everyone.
  • there’s now a manual “Update” button on crypto exchange connections
  • dates are displayed in a nicer format on entry details
  • a bunch of other minor fixes and improvements

 

There’s something Freudian about those monsters, I just can’t put my finger on it…

Posted in Announcements

Improved System for Tracking Expense Locations and Venues

We have recently updated the way locations are suggested and tracked in the Toshl Finance apps. Based on your coordinates, provided by your phone using GPS / Galileo / GLONASS or web browser (for web app), Toshl suggests specific venues that you can note on your expenses and incomes.

To match these coordinates with specific places of business with their real names, Toshl uses a location service to provide this information.

To improve the breadth, accuracy of location results, as well as terms, we have now changed the location database providers from Foursquare to Google Places. While Google’s system should contain more venues and more precise data, the downside is that we can’t match them 1:1 with the Foursquare locations you might have used earlier. There can be differences in their databases regarding individual venues, so they cannot always be matched precisely. Your existing locations will remain saved as they are, but new ones will be located based on Google’s location results. We apologise if this change caused any inconvenience.

We hope this adjustment will help us all track our expense locations with greater detail and ease.

For more information about using locations in Toshl on Android, iOS and Web, click on the respective link for your platform. Don’t forget you can also add locations outside of your immediate vicinity, simply by using search and a comma.

Posted in Announcements