Saturday, January 14, 2006

Google Pack

Google announced the "Google Pack" which is a collection of applications (from Google and others) that they feel are useful for the computer. This isn't a new or "innovative" idea, but it is a good idea. How many of us also have a collection of software that we install every time we setup a new computer for ourselves, family and friends? Many of the applications in the Google Pack are software that I normaly install and what Google Pack is providing is one-stop shopping which can be a real convenience.

What I would like to see, however, is different types of packages for consumers, developers, etc. It would also be interesting to see if Google would be willing to offer alternatives in each software category such as desktop search (Google Desktop, Yahoo!, Microsoft, etc.). Before giving me the "why would they push competitor's software, consider that they already offer Trillian and Google Talk (Trillian Pro has Jabber support and thus can talk to the Google IM network), or if not a competitor then open source alternatives such as GAIM? What I like so far is that the pack seems to be a developer/computer user's view of some good software for people. It's when it becomes companies paying Google to be included in the pack that the trust and value of this will diminish. I hope that won't happen. Rather then looking at this as another way to generate revenue, it would be great if this project is aimed more at getting people using the computer (easier to be online and improving the experience) so that they gain by growing the market.

Not knowing how they picked and tested the software, I like to think that with the big repository of knowledgable techies that they really thoroughly tested all the software for quality, spyware/adware, and privacy issues since the average user simply does not have the resources necessary to figure out if a software is trustworthy and safe.

This is also a great opportunity for Google to ease into desktop software development. I believe that Google will start to face a number of consumer issues they haven't needed to face before. Already criticism of the "suite" not being very unified and the interfaces aren't consistent have surfaced. Some are valid and some are not, but it's something that software companies faces all the time and Google can begin to learn from it by getting familiar with what the users want in a more gentle way since this is only a "pack" and not a Google "suite".

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