Google Pack, why?

Bloggers around the globe are once again kneeling at the feet and licking the boots of Larry Page and Sergey Brin of Google over their keynote speech at CES, Las Vegas yesterday.

Few new products were announced, Google Video Store, Google Local mobile and, Google Pack.

Now, Google Video store could be good, but, it doesn’t look like it will even be available to anybody outside of the US, at least not initially, apparently.
The best thing about this announcement is that there are apparently no plans to include DRM in the downloadable videos. I suspect that is if Google get their way. I dont expect that the content providers (US TV network CBS & the NBA) will be too keen on their content being unprotected. I mean, which record companies are out there selling their artists music in MP3 format?

Google Local mobile is another good idea, in theory, but again, G are alienating the other 191 world countries by making it US only. I tried testing it on my mobile phone. Although it downloaded, it would not bring through any local data for my area, even though Google Local does have a UK version.

Google Pack.
Google Pack is basically just a one-stop download point for Google products and other programs that are necessary these days to have a complete web-experience.
Lets just go through the offering, piece-by-piece, shall we?

  • Google Earth – A great program in its own right, why on earth would you want to promote it in a package?
  • Picasa – Again, great tool to have, but not everybody would want or need it.
  • Google Pack screensaver – Do we not all have this already built into Windows XP? The ‘My Pictures slideshow’?
  • Google Desktop – Ok, this one perhaps does deserve to be here, no qualms with it, although, I refuse to use it as it is too intrusive
  • Google toolbar for IE – GToolbar for IE bundled in the same install as Firefox with GToolbar? Perhaps a little trivial, but, I suppose there will be people who will still use both browsers. But, what self respecting IE user does not already have GToolbar? And if they don’t have it, I would expect it to be out of choice, rather than ignorance.
  • Mozilla Firefox with GToolbar – Great promotion for the Mozilla Foundation and Firefox, this should really help to get user numbers up. But, will it not artificially inflate usage figures? Users download the standard edition of Google Pack, Firefox gets installed. Google reports to Mozilla that 1.2million people downloaded Google Pack with Firefox, therefor, they must have 1.2million extra users, which may not be true. It may be sat there unused.
  • Norton Antivirus 2005 – I use Norton. I have no problems with it. A 6 month free subscription? Nice. Blatant product placement though, dumping a licensed product in with a bunch of opensource/freeware stuff. Symantec quite obviously paid Google quite a sum of money to get this in there, on the assumption that a large number of those that download GPack will then pay for a Norton subscription after the 6-month period. You have to hand it to Symantec, great marketing ploy.
  • Ad-Aware SE Personal – Not the best anti-spyware product out there. In fact, I have to hand that award to Microsoft Antispyware. But, I can see where G are going with this GPack thing, anti-microsoft. Good on ’em.
  • Adobe Reader 7 – What web-user does not already have this? And, going back to the whole GToobar/IE thing, if they don’t have it, it’s probably through choice that they don’t. Some of us do prefer opensource PDF readers like Foxit Reader
  • Now we’ve spent some time looking over what Google Pack is offering, I shall conclude on my initial thought. Why are they announcing this as a major new product? There’s nothing new here. Except Google Updater, but that’s circumstancial, since all the programs that are offered in the pack already have their own updaters.

    Some are dubbing it ‘way cool‘, but, Google Pack get a big thumbs down from me.

    6 Comments

    1. I agree, thumbs down. Google makes good products, but you’re right, there’s nothing new, and Google just wants to bundle it’s products à-la M$/Adobe. Google is supposed to be different.

    2. If they bundled Firefox but *NOT* IE (and started making their products non-IE compatible) I might have a little more respect for this package..

    3. Uh Dan, they aren’t bundling IE.
      And how do you mean by ‘started making their products non-IE compatible’ exactly?
      Are you saying that all Google sites should be Firefox/Mozilla only?

    4. Agree again, you can’t just ignore IE – as a web-based developer it would be akin to suicide…(or at the very least setting off on your mission with the aim to be a fringe hit at best)…

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