Google Pack strikes me as an obvious play for Google, the company has made no secret of its intention to poke Microsoft in the eye from time to time. And honestly, they are right - setting up and maintaining a PC is a right pain in the ass. I very much hope this thing works, and plan to try it out on a new PC Federated Media is buying this week.
I spoke to Marissa Mayer about Pack, and she had some fun stuff to say about it. I noticed no version of Open Office in the Pack, and she reminded me this is just the first version of the Pack, and since it updates itself automatically, why, there might be Open Office in an update shortly. They are in active discussions, I was told.
Pack, if it becomes popular, will bring a whole new set of users to Google, mainly because it includes Toolbar and Desktop, which of course means more searches, and more data, and more money for Google.
"We realize software distribution will have to become one of our core competencies," Mayer told me.
"Some of (the applications in Pack) will result in increased revenue to us," she also noted.
Well, I asked, might you ever include Microsoft products in a Google Pack? "If they are interested," the ever on her feet Mayer responded, "we'd be more than willing to discuss it with them." Over to you, Mr. Ballmer....
Let's see what's in the pack:
* Adobe Reader 7 - everybody would have downloaded anyway
* Ad-Aware - probably the default anti-spyware solution
* Norton Antivirus 2005 - 6 months subscription, just a trial version. There may be some money here, because Google could've chosen AVG Antivirus or Avast.
* RealPlayer - another money source from the good old friends at Real Networks
* Trillian - Google Talk is not ready for being considered a viable answer to Yahoo Messenger or MSN Messenger, so Google chose an all-in-one solution: Trillian. Gaim was considered too geeky.
* GalleryPlayer HD Images + Google Pack Screensaver - fun stuff to increase the coolness effect.
* Mozilla Firefox with Google Toolbar - what else?
* Google Toolbar (increase Google traffic), Google Desktop (let Google know more about you, Google outside the browser), Google Earth (splendid piece of work that will drive some traffic to Google), Google Talk (more traffic to GMail).
So where is money? Norton Antivirus, Real Player, Google Toolbar, Google Desktop.
What does Google Pack lack?
* a firewall (maybe Zone Alarm)
* media codecs (maybe DivX or ffdshow)
* office suite (OpenOffice)
And something else: who needs Google Updater? Google software can take care of its own updates (or auto-updates), Norton Antivirus, Real Player and Ad-Aware also have an update system. It seems pretty useless.