Today in tech: A Google+ backlash, a third Firefox update in three months, and Consumer Reports finally -- finally! -- recommends the iPhone.
The Google+ Business Page Backlash
Yesterday Google finally let businesses play on Google+. Today came the inevitable backlash. After announcing brand pages, a bunch of companies, including a host of news organizations, wasted no time in creating profiles. Yet, as businesses clamor to join the social network, some of them aren't convinced that these business pages are all that great. Given that Google is directly competing with Facebook, users have noted three downsides to the new brand pages.
One man show? As Google+ power user Robert Scoble pointed out, it's difficult for multiple people to manage the account. Technically, only one person can "own" or "post to" an account, making it difficult to split up posting duties.
No promotions allowed. Beyond the admin issues, Google mind-boggingly banned promotions or contests from G+ brand pages. Facebook restricts this type of thing, but not so much as Google+, says The Next Web's Nancy Messieh: "This move seems odd, as it could easily send any promotional traffic straight to a Facebook page when brands find that they are unable to host the promotions on Google+ itself," she writes.
Obstructions to fandom. Finally, Google doesn't exactly make it easy for "fans" to "like" pages, to put it in Facebook speak. Unlike the "like" button, the +1 button doesn't automatically subscribe one as a fan. To do that, a user has to add that company to a circle. Instead of making this process seamless, Google adds more confusing steps for fatigued social networkers.
Of course, when Google+ didn't have brand pages, there was just as much complaining. And it doesn't seem to be stopping businesses from joining.
Another Meh Firefox Update
As a part of Mozilla's rapid-release schedule, Firefox has released its third update in three months, Firefox 8. The latest browser doesn't seem to offer that many crazy updates over 7, besides Twitter search integration. Firefox added Twitter to its dropdown menu of options , but doesn't give hashtag or @names results, only words.
Mozilla opted for a quick release schedule to get bug fixes and bigger updates out on a faster schedule, releasing new versions every six weeks or so. Firefox 6 and 7 claimed faster browsing and start-up speeds, but they weren't fast enough for reviewers. And now 8 doesn't really have much sparkle, it seems. Unfortunately, each update on its own doesn't give users enough to switch from Chrome.
Consumer Reports Finally Recommends the iPhone
Though Consumer Reports had listed the iPhone 4 as one of the "best" smartphones, it had never recommended people actually go out and buy the product. Today, it finally gave the latest iPhone update its blessing, citing improved reception, and enhancements like the faster processor, 8 megapixel camera and of course the beloved Siri. The phone, however, was not good enough to best Android phones like the Samsung Galaxy S II phones, the Motorola Droid Bionic. It's not exactly clear how much this matters, though, considering how bananas people went for the iPhone 4S before consumer reports gave its symbolic OK.