An unofficial blog that watches Google's attempts to move your operating system online since 2005. Not affiliated with Google.

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January 3, 2009

Bundled with Google Software

I've noticed that many of my favorite Windows applications include the option to download unrelated Google software (mostly Google Toolbar and Google Desktop). Of course, you can easily uncheck the options and bundling Google software is better than installing spyware, but many people install applications by repeatedly clicking "Next" and ignore their boring messages.

If you refuse to install Google Toolbar from an application, shouldn't Google set a flag and stop offering the toolbar in other applications? Bundled software could be related to the application you are installing: IrfanView works well with Picasa, while GomPlayer could integrate a video search feature.

Here's what Google says about bundles:
Many internet users find that over time their computers become loaded with unwanted software - be it adware, spyware or just plain junk. This is because a few applications they installed came bundled with junk, and that junk generated more junk piled higher and deeper. We believe any situation where multiple applications are being installed should be made very clear to users, so that if you were to ask them several months later - "What's this?" - most will know where it came from and why it is there.

Usually there are complex business relationships among the companies participating in a bundle. This can result in well-intentioned companies benefiting from the distribution or revenue generated by software that does not benefit you. Getting paid to distribute, or paying money to be distributed with undesirable software enables more undesirable software. (...) For this reason, we will strive to distribute our software only in bundles where all applications meet the above guidelines, and we think users will benefit if others in our industry do the same.

So if you install an application that bundles Google software, you should know that it respects Google's software principles. Which of your favorite applications bundle Google software and what do you think about this practice?

This blog is not affiliated with Google.