Google Pack fails to impress

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

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 OpenOffice.org will be included in the bundle by the end of the year.

Google Pack beta for Windows XP can be downloaded from pack.google.com.