The Buzz Report
Facebook pwns youFacebook now, officially, knows everything about you and plans to know much, much more. But at least all your data will look super pretty. Plus, phones for girls, and iPhone 5 coming soon!
Hello everyone, IÃ¯Â¿Â½m Molly Wood, and welcome to the Buzz Report, the show about the tech news that everyone is talking about. This week, has Facebook made a fatal mistake? Has Netflix made a fatal mistake? Has HP made a fatal mistake? How many fatal mistakes are possible in one week? Well, letÃ¯Â¿Â½s begin with the Gadget of the Week. The Gadget of the Week is the HTC Rhyme for Verizon, which would seem to prove that the idea of phones for girls is not yet dead. The Rhyme, formerly known as the bliss, is a new Android smart phone running Gingerbread, and Verizon and HTC executives arenÃ¯Â¿Â½t SAYING itÃ¯Â¿Â½s for girls. TheyÃ¯Â¿Â½re definitely NOT saying that. TheyÃ¯Â¿Â½re only saying that itÃ¯Â¿Â½s REALLY really easy to use, it comes with lots of cool accessories, even a little cell phone charm that lights up when youÃ¯Â¿Â½re getting a call, and oh by the way, itÃ¯Â¿Â½s only available in purple. Yep. But an HTC executive says that if you want a feature phone, the Rhyme is better than the iPhone! Huh. Really? Then, um, if itÃ¯Â¿Â½s better than the iPhone, why make it purple? Kind of a mass-market killer, isnÃ¯Â¿Â½t it? Then again, back when the Rhyme was code-named the Bliss, rumors said it would come with built-in fitness apps and calorie counters. So, I guess we should count ourselves lucky that itÃ¯Â¿Â½s just purple. What was the tagline originally going to be? Good enough for a girl? And now for the news. IÃ¯Â¿Â½m in different clothes right now because I skipped over to to the Facebook f8 announcement, where CEO Mark Zuckerberg unveiled major new changes to Facebook that can only be summarized this way: theyÃ¯Â¿Â½re taking over the world, and turning us into a population of rainbow-chard-eating narcissists and/or stalkers. Some of it is pretty cool, though! The biggest changes are the Timeline and the Open Graph. The Timeline is basically your entire life, or the parts that are on Facebook, organized chronologically. The Timeline could show every photo youÃ¯Â¿Â½ve uploaded, all your status updates, all your check-ins, all your posts and likes and dislikes. ItÃ¯Â¿Â½s kind of creating an entire mirror version of you, and making it super pretty. ItÃ¯Â¿Â½s actually pretty cool for archiving purposes. Plus, it shows you just EXACTLY how much information you really have on Facebook! Which is useful, in case you want to decide to stop sharing so much. The other big change is Open Graph. This will let any app on Facebook seamlessly share everything you do! Like, every time you go for a run, every time you listen to a song or watch a show or watch a movie or read a news story. So, if youÃ¯Â¿Â½re listening to a song on Spotify, your friends can all see the song, and click on it and start listening. Same with a Netflix movie or a Hulu TV show or a story about Angelina Jolie in USA Today. IÃ¯Â¿Â½m just saying, choose your media consumption carefully. Everyone can see you now. Actually, thereÃ¯Â¿Â½s a third thing, too, that happened even before the keynote. The redesign! That everyone hates! Which is so confusing and tries to tell you what youÃ¯Â¿Â½re interested in, and who, depending on how often you go to Facebook, and then has this new ticker on the side that has like, supposedly less important news and comments, and even while everyone was still freaking out about the redesign, then along came this massive change with the Timeline thing! I gotta admit, I feel a little lost. Did I mention that Google+ is now open to everyone, as of this week? Yep. There it was, languishing, abandoned Ã¯Â¿Â½ hell, even Larry Page hadnÃ¯Â¿Â½t made a public post on Google + in more than a month. And suddenly Ã¯Â¿Â½ new life? WeÃ¯Â¿Â½ll see. ItÃ¯Â¿Â½s not like Google is all that much less arrogant and scary than Facebook, but at least the freaking news feed is simply a chronological list of things that people post. I mean. How hard is that? Actually, this week was a parade of companies behaving oddly. So much so that IÃ¯Â¿Â½d like to pose the following question as a new segment here on Buzz Report: Are you smoking crack? Before Facebook even got its redesign out the door, the week started with crazy. Reeling from sliding stock prices and defecting customers after a 60 percent price hike in the middle of a recession, Netflix responded swiftly to the criticism and customer anger. By making it all worse. CEO Reed Hastings said he was sorry you feel that way, and then announced he was splitting the company in two and renaming the DVD delivery business Qwikster. How embarrassing. Qwikster. Netflix will now just do streaming media, although Ã¯Â¿Â½ as we know Ã¯Â¿Â½ not very much streaming media. Best part of the whole story? Twitter dot com slash qwikster. A penetrating insight into the mind of AmericaÃ¯Â¿Â½s youth. Actually, the Qwikster Twitter feed is more entertaining than the entire selection of streaming Netflix offerings. Ã¯Â¿Â½ Combined. Is HPÃ¯Â¿Â½s board smoking crack, or have they just gone to rehab? The board just hired former eBay CEO and failed California gubernatorial cadidate Meg Whitman as HPÃ¯Â¿Â½s new CEO, canning Leo Apotheker after just 11 months on the job. Granted, theyÃ¯Â¿Â½ve been a pretty exciting 11 months, considering he took the company on a really fun ride straight into the toilet. Remember that time HPÃ¯Â¿Â½s board authorized spying on journalists, and that other time HPÃ¯Â¿Â½s board canned successful CEO Mark Hurd over the most sexless scandal ever and a few wonky expense reports and then was super surprised when he was mad about it and fought back in public? HPÃ¯Â¿Â½s board. SmokinÃ¯Â¿Â½ crack. In other news this week, reports suggest that AppleÃ¯Â¿Â½s next event will be held October 4th in San Francisco, and new CEO Tim Cook will be on hand to, we assume, announce the iPhone 5. Actually, we may already know that, thanks to Apple board member Al Gore, who casually mentioned at a conference that there are new iPhones coming out next month. New iPHONES. So, have fun with that new rumor bait, while you simultaneously wonder whether Al Gore, too, is smoking crack. What a week. And thatÃ¯Â¿Â½s the Buzz Report for this week, everyone. IÃ¯Â¿Â½m Molly Wood and thanks for watching.