Google Pack fails to impress

Google Pack fails to impress

Summary: Google's bundle of disparate applications has been described by one analyst as a 'ragtag package'

TOPICS: Tech Industry

Google's decision to launch a desktop software bundle has left many industry observers underwhelmed and confused about the company's long-term strategy.

Google Pack beta, which was announced during the closing keynote at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas on Friday, packages Google software with other desktop applications, such as Firefox and Adobe Reader.

The software bundle also includes Google Updater, a tool that downloads, installs and maintains all the software in Google Pack, alerting users when updates become available.

Google claimed in a statement that Google Pack lets users "painlessly install all the essential software they need" and that the applications included in the package are "considered best in their class".

See ZDNet UK's take on what Google Pack might really mean here

But David Bradshaw, a principal analyst at Ovum, said on Monday that he was unimpressed by the product.

"I'm a bit underwhelmed with Google Pack — it seems like a ragtag package of software," said Bradshaw. "I'm not sure what they're trying to achieve with this."

James Governor, an analyst at RedMonk agreed that the way Google has packaged the software is of limited use.

"Google Pack is not an integrated software suite. It's just a bunch of stuff that Google's wrapped a rubber band around," he said. "They could have done a better job with this."

Governor also disagreed with Google's statement that it has picked the best applications, claiming that "Real Player is not many people's favourite".

Software consultant and tech blogger Jim Mathies was even more critical of Google Pack. "This initial version of Google Pack is an embarrassment to the company. It’s just a mess," he said in his blog on Monday.

Google is expected to make significant improvements in future versions of Google Pack. "It's a long way from being right at the moment, but is an indication of where Google's going to go," said Governor, who predicted that the open source office suite will be included in the bundle by the end of the year.

Google Pack beta for Windows XP can be downloaded from

Topic: Tech Industry

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  • I think the package kinda sucks. Who doesn't already have this stuff installed? I know that there's better minds there working on better things. There has to be. I love the statement that Google has just wrapped a rubberband around the apps, because that is precisely what it is. Not too exciting.
  • I wrote earlier that this package sucks, but I am impressed that I got to this link from google. So I think they are pretty good about not hiding from the critics. And that is always a cool thing. But they are still sorta new in the scheme of things, so maybe they too will evil up a bit. I hope not, but money does a funny thing to people. So here's to hope!
  • This is Google erasing Microsoft from as many computers as possible. GOOD IDEA!!!
  • The software isn't exactly the most tasteful, and it doesn't really work together. Bundling Trillian with Google Talk is an admission that Google Talk isn't all-that-exciting, and RealPlayer ... come on

    But, from a user-experience point of view, it's very nice to point-and-click and silent install a bunch of prerequisite software. I'm not excited about the fact that I can't select the applications I want installed as soon as I launch, but it is nice to have a manageable rubber band.

    Of course, I'm scared when some of this stuff is installed with all the money flowing on the internet today. Anyone notice the new Yahoo! Toolbar "update" by Adobe Acrobat Reader? Yea, no thanks.

    Hopefully, Google won't pull this move and try to push useless software to users (well, not any more than the RealPlayer move, at least).
  • say what you like but I would like to see them improve on existing services like Gmaps, only the UK/US/Jap are covered, thats no good.
  • I was already fed up with Acrobat wanting to install the things like Yahoo toolbar. I've seen that with several programs recently.

    WTF! If I wanted to install these additional programs I would have downloaded and installed them myself, why waste space in the package for things which belong to another company, in which I have no interest?

    If it was an integrated suite or something it would be interesting, but as it is a selection of products from different companies it probably isn't of much interest. Most users will probably already have installed the items which are of interest to them and will ignore the others.

    7 out of 10 for the idea, 2 out of 10 for execution?
  • I couldn't have stated it better than this dude: "GPack is aimed at people like my mom, who have no idea what they're doing, but check their e-mail and websites compulsively. The fact that it will automatically update all that software for people like them is a huge plus and downloading all of it from one place is a major convenience, especially since they have no idea what they need. It makes sense for Google to try to widen its base beyond the tech crowd. Seems like a smart product to me."

    via Digg - posted by crispyart
  • I downloaded this to my laptop as a test over what I currently had loaded and I must say it slowed my system to a crawl. This was due way in part to the NAV:SE. After uninstalling that, my system perked back up quite a bit and after uninstalling GD, I was back up to regular speed even with the indexing turned off and unloaded from startup. I had a problem with Firefox, which I actually like, closing unexpectedly and with no warning or error message when I was publishing my blog to Yahoo. It happened twice, I switched over to IE and had no problems. Sorry Google Pack, better luck next time
  • "Google's decision to launch a desktop software bundle has left many industry observers underwhelmed and confused about the company's long-term strategy."

    Let me explain it then:

    Google has this policy that their employees should spend 20% of their time on personal projects. Most of the time, nothing will come of this. Occasionally, a personal project will turn into something worth releasing to the world. Very rarely, but at times, a personal project will turn out to be the next big thing.

    The pack falls in the middle category. Nothing extraordinary, but worth putting out there.

    Google's strategy is simple: Spend 80% of their time figuring out the best way to index & search all the information in the world. Spend 20% of their time playing, on the chance that--while creating a lot of useless stuff--they'll stumble upon the unforeseeable next big thing.
  • Foxit Reader is far superior to Adobe's Acrobat. Why did Google choose to add one of the most bloated and performance lacking pieces of software available? It's truly beyond me. For those of you not familiar with Foxit Reader, it is a small, fast and clean .PDF reader that is available for download here:

    No longer is there a wait time to view .PDF files if you don't already have an instance of your reader open. Ever since installing this software, I'm able to view 25Mb+ .PDFs in fractions of a second. Take my recommendation and download this application. Completely remove any sign of Acrobat, and you will be extremely satisfied and never look back. Foxit doesn't even require and install, simply run the .exe from the .zip and you're good to go!
  • To answer the last guy: LOTS of people don't already have this stuff installed. In fact, most computer users don't. Sad, but true.

    The Google Pack wasn't supposed to be any sort of revoutionary step forward in innovation -- it was just supposed to be a nice way to get a bunch of essential utilities and other good stuff onto their computers in one fell swoop. Perfect for those that don't know spyware from Farberware.

    I could argue that Norton's stuff is far from the best choice for the antivirus. Poor choice, there. But hey, at least it's better than nothing -- which unfortunately is what a lot of people actually have. Nothing. It boggles the mind, but it's true.
  • google pack fails to impress

    hmmm is google about impressing people .. how about impressing to death other internet giant player like msn and yahoo ...

    is that all you can give/show to those giants ?
  • People forget that real computer users use OS/X or Linux that have all of this stuff bundled with it - just add Open office and various other free/open source packages and you have the ideal machine.

    One day, people will awaken and realise there is more to their PC life than Micro$oft!