Bits from Bill

Technology thoughts leaking from the brain of "Bill Pytlovany"

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Google Pack

No new Google PC was announced but there was still a full house to hear Google co-founder, Larry Page, detail the new “Google Pack” software collection. Most attendee’s were more interested in how announcements would affect their Google stock which has been upgraded recently.  Apparently, the folks who reported a Google PC were mixed up with the Koobox which is under $300 and runs a version of Linux called Linspire. Google… Koobox, they both have double O’s and six letters so you can understand the confusion.

Google Pack is essentially a collection of Google owned software, popular free/trial software combined into a user friendly delivery system.  My initial installation automatically chose nine programs from the collection which included:

    •   Ad-Aware SE Personal
    •   Adobe Reader
    •   Google Desktop
    •   Google Earth
    •   Google Pack Screensaver
    •   Google Toolbar for IE
    •   Mozilla Firefox with Google Toolbar
    •   Norton Antivirus 2005  SE (Six month trial)
    •   Picasa  (Googles Photo Editor)

The installer, “Google Updater” was intelligent enough to know I already had copies of Ad-Aware, Google Toolbar, and Firefox on my system. It updated my version of Google Desktop and Adobe Reader.
The Updater Preferences allows users the option of hiding the icon in their taskbar once you’ve made your choices.

On the Google Pack website there is a checkbox in front of each application so users can decide which ones they’d like.  Other available programs include

    •   Trillian
    •   Google Talk
    •   GalleryPlayer HD Images
    •   RealPlayer

During the install, WinPatrol’s Scotty woke up and barked a number of times.  It could be one of the reasons WinPatrol wasn’t included. The main culprit was Symantec’s Norton AntiVirus which added

    •    1 Startup Program
    •    2 IE Helpers (1 BHO, 1 Toolbar)
    •    2 Scheduled Tasks
    •    8 Windows Services

I went ahead and approved all the additions and then used the Google Updater to Uninstall Norton Antivirus.  Updater made Uninstall a breeze and I was surprised to see all of the Norton/Symantec components were removed.  I was impressed that Ad-aware and Real Player weren’t automatically added to my Startup Program list. It could be because they were already detected on my system and weren’t installed.

I understand Google considered a number of AntiSpyware solutions before going with Ad-aware.The free version of Ad-aware is worthy and I’m told no money changed hands.  I’m sure Lavasoft, like many would have paid for the honor and visibility of being included. My only complaint with Ad-aware is their AdWatch program which blocks any additions to certain Run registry locations.  Users aren’t notified so even if they want a program to run all the time it gets blocked automatically.

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