Google Pack Offers 1-Stop Downloading Of Software

on Google Pack already went live briefly
on Google earlier today, but now the software bundling and updating system has
been formally announced. It pulls together popular Google software applications
along with those from other providers. An overview of the package is below, and

longer version
of this post for Search Engine Watch
members goes
into more depth from Google about how products were selected, whether others
might come and some of the business reasons for doing the pack.

The genesis for the pack, said Google vice president of search products and
user experience Marissa Mayer, was the frustration of Google cofounders Larry
Page and Sergey Brin having to track down and register software for computers
they were setting up a year ago.

“They spent all afternoon setting them up. Hundreds of clicks and license
agreements later, they had it the way they wanted,” Mayer said.

OK, skip past the idea that the duo should just be able to snap their fingers
and have someone configure their computers for them. I can understand the
frustration. I’ve had to bring up three computers from a “clean” state this year
and have my own list of
essential tools and software that I always have to put on. So the idea of a
magical way for Google to do this for me? Nice!

Does it work? I haven’t had a chance to actually test it yet, since I was
briefed about the system earlier this week, before the software was live.
However, I’ve got a newly repaired laptop that I’m going to give it a go on in a
few days.

One downside is that you can’t add software not already on the Google Pack
list. I despise Norton AntiVirus after being a long-time user who tired of its
bugginess. But that’s the antivirus package of choice in what Google is

Of course, you don’t have to choose to install any particular component.
Google’s just giving you a menu, and ala carte is fine. Here’s what’s on the

  • Adobe Reader 7
  • Ad-Aware SE Personal
  • GalleryPlayer HD Images
  • Google Desktop
  • Google Earth
  • Google Pack Screensaver
  • Google Picasa Photo Organizer/Editor
  • Google Talk
  • Google Toolbar for Internet Explorer
  • Google Video player
  • Mozilla Firefox with Google Toolbar
  • Norton AntiVirus 2005 Special Edition
  • RealPlayer
  • Trillian

Google says all of the programs were added because they are considered “best
of class” and that no payments for inclusion were involved.

Two programs from Google are new. The Google Video Player is described more
here. The
Google Pack Screensaver lets you use existing photos on your computer as a
screensaver, something Google says they’ve seen demand for.

One downside to the new Google Pack. It doesn’t remember your preferences. If
you set up a suite of software on your computer, then need to bring up an
entirely new computer, there’s no way to save a profile of the programs you
like. Hopefully, something like that will come in the future.

Looking for the official word? See the Google press release here

Want to comment or discuss? Visit our SEW Forums thread, Google Pack Live.

Postscript from Gary:
This is not the first time we’ve seen Google bundle their own software and make it available from other providers. Three examples come quickly to mind. First, a recent deal to include several pieces of software on Lexar Flash Drives. We’ve also posted about Google software being distributed with WinZip and InterVideo’s DVD duplication software.

Postscript from Danny: Paul Thurrott has a nice recap of the downloading tool in action in this review.

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