Old Maps & Bad Phones Show Google isn't Perfect

First, I overlooked one piece of Rupert Murdoch's global expansion the other day, and that was his announcement Monday that News Corp. is investing $100 million in six new regional television channels in India. These will carry programs in local languages and should be operational within a year.

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I've been issuing so much praise for Google recently that just to maintain some balance, I have to tweak the company on two matters. One is its use of outdated satellite images on Google Maps. At least two reporters who have visited New Orleans this year have noted that Google's maps of parts of that city have not been updated to reflect rebuilding since Hurricane Katrina.

In order to eliminate confusion, these images, like other data, should always contain a time stamp, which is a step Google execs should definitely take as soon as possible.

The other issue is Android, which Barron's reports may be delayed again -- into 2009. Those who have seen the would-be iPhone competitor product up close tell me it is a nightmare from a design perspective. Whatever initial issues Apple's launch of the iPhone 3G had, they're apparently fixed, and the design is simply out of this world. Brilliant, beautiful and easy to use.

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Finally, while Mixi is still the runaway leader in social media in Japan, here comes Facebook. According to ComScore, the U.S. company has 538,000 users in Japan, a foothold though hardly a threat to Mixi's 12.7 million.