Google+ Changes; Apple Apps Hit 50B Downloads and Some Aren’t Happy

Apple has lots of real cash but, not for you.

Apple has lots of real cash but, not for you.

If you haven’t been over to your Google+ page recently, there are big changes. The page is now filled with info boxes that show everything from streams to potential people you may know. The left-side menu is now hidden unless you hover over the “Home” link at top left. Overall, it looks pleasing.

It appears the changes were made and launched to coincide with the Google I/O developer’s conference happening this week. Entrepreneur has written a decent summary of the changes. You can check it out here. One thing that hasn’t changed – when I go to my Google+ page, it still annoyingly takes me to another page first. It repeatedly wants me to add friends and suggests me doing so before I can go to my Google+ page. This happens practically every single time. Now I know Google wants desperately to grow its social network. However, one would think if a user clicked to not add anyone more than a dozen times it would be better to not pester users about it anymore. It just reinforces how it’s all about their interest rather than user experience.

Apple Hits Another Big Milestone
Apple hasn’t been the same Wall Street darling this year compared to previous years. But, that hasn’t stopped it from reaching another big milestone. Apple recently surpassed 50 billion app downloads. While my guess is 40 billion are rarely used, it’s still impressive. What seemed to not impress people is the PR stunt Apple did to commemorate the event. Apple apparently offered $10,000 in app store cash to the person that would be the downloader of the 50 billionth app. It would seem that getting $10,000 for clicking a couple of buttons would be good but, not like this. As is pointed out here, the fact you have to spend the $10,000 on more apps as a reward for helping get Apple to such a milestone comes across as self-serving. When this happens – and you also happen to be the one tech company with the most money in the bank (billions) – well, it is self-serving. At the very least, Apple should have made it a gift card to the Apple store, not the iTunes store. Even better would have been a Visa gift card to use anywhere. In addition, the fact it is only offering $10,000 when it has billions laying around is also cheap. Coming across “cheap” when popular perception about its products is that they are anti-cheap (in price or quality) is a poor PR stunt.

Now I’m sure not everyone perceived the $10,000 app store reward so negatively. But, why not make sure no one did? Apple is a company in a rare position – it has too much cash on hand for Wall Street’s liking. So, it recently decided to give back $100 billion to shareholders. To do so, it apparently also plans to even borrow money to pay it out. When Apple is willing to do this for shareholders such a small reward for consumers can seem insulting. This is especially true when it was consumers in the first place – not Wall Street – that helped get Apple the success it has achieved. Apple, really? The company will borrow $100 billion to give back to shareholders – the company is willing to do that much for Wall Street. But, for consumers that helped the company surpass a monumental 50 billion app downloads, it cannot even muster a real cash reward? For consumers that got the company to this big achievement – again, not Wall Street – the company chooses to reward them with $10,000 TO BUY MORE APPS. Apple has pulled off some great PR moves over the past several years. Mark this one as not so impressive.

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