Rating the Google Pack

Download the Google Pack free.

On his Winsupersite, Paul Thurrott has reviewed the new Google Pack. I myself have not even had a chance to look at it, so I can offer no opinion other than I really like Picasa and hate Norton Antivirus, never did like Norton’s, their utilities were okay, until you found their competition, hehe, never did like Realplayer either, I’ve always favored Windows Media Player to it. Ofcourse I have and still use Adaware, nowadays you have to have more than one antispyware program, although X-Cleaner is by far the best. Here is part of his review, which you can read here.

Google Pack is indeed a collection of free software. Whether it’s useful or improves the online experience is, I suppose, up to the individual. From what I can see, Google Pack is decidedly mixed. And if you’re interested in installing this package, you’re going to want to choose which applications you install quite carefully.

The problems are legion. First, few users will want all of the applications Google is offering here. And though some of the applications are quite good, most of them spew system tray, Quick Launch, and desktop icons all over your system, and silently pad your PC with additional tasks to run at boot-up, slowing the boot process and taking up valuable resources. The effect is similar to that you get when you purchase new PC from a company such as HP: There are unwanted and unnecessary programs strewn all over the system, and you can spend hours removing them all. In some ways, that’s the worst part about getting a new PC, isn’t it?

And though Google goes to great pains to tout how each application in Google Pack is free, it’s worth noting that many of these applications feature annoying upgrade advertisements aimed at getting you to purchase the full versions. They’re limited in other ways too, as I’ll describe below. But most problematic, many of these applications aren’t even up-to-date. For example, the free version of Norton Antivirus includes virus definitions that are, as of this writing, an astonishing four months out of date. And the spyware definitions in Ad-Aware SE were over 120 days out of date when I installed that application. That’s simply irresponsible. The sheer amount of work that a user needs to perform in order to make sure that each application Google provides is updated completely contradicts the benefits of having an integrated installer with “only one license agreement ? and no wizards.” That’s only true until you actually try to use any of these applications.

His conclusion:

While virtually every computer company on earth is scared to death of Google, and virtually every PC user seems to be in love with them, Google Pack serves nicely as a reality check. Not only is Google human, buts the flaws in Google Pack suggest that this company has a long, long way to go before it can ever justify its insanely lofty stock price. Google Pack is a mixed bag of applications, some useful and some not, though virtually all are deficient in some way as packaged here. I applaud Google for trying to make the PC experience simpler and more secure, but shipping out-of-date security products is even worse than not shipping them at all, because users will get a false sense of security and believe they’re protected when in fact they are not. Google Pack is still in beta, so the more glaring issues can be fixed by a final release, if there is one. But this initial version of Google Pack is an embarrassment to the company. It’s just a mess.

Click here to read the whole thing, and many other fantastic news and reviews at Paul’s site.