Google added a new antivirus software to Google Pack and this time the program doesn't try to convince you to buy a paid version. Google Pack added the free version of the Avast antivirus, but only for the following languages: French, German, Italian, Czech, Spanish, Russian, Portuguese, and Polish. I installed the software using the Italian interface, but both Google Pack and Avast were installed in English.
For some reason, the English version of Google Pack lets you install a different security software: Spyware Doctor with Anti-Virus, which replaced Norton Security Scan. Both Spyware Doctor and Norton Security Scan offered limited or no real-time protection and Spyware Doctor used an outdated signature database.
"The Avast Free Antivirus included in the Google Pack is the same as our regular Avast Free Antivirus. Following the philosophy of Google and Avast, the product is fully featured and does not constantly try to up-sell users to a premium product," explains Vincent Steckler.
The most recent tests from AV-Comparatives.org show that Avast, Avira and Microsoft Security Essentials are the best free antivirus software. "This year, avast! showed big improvements in its detection rates (esp. in the second half of 2009) and reduced its number of false alarms. Its on-demand scanning speed is one of the fastest. The recently released avast! v5 includes further enhancements (like a new graphical user interface) and new protection features."
In December, Avast's blog announced that the software will offer users the option to install Google Chrome. Some may call it software bundling, but it's not as disingenuous as the Google Earth promotion. "Starting in mid-November, we will be giving our new users an option to install Google Chrome when installing Avast. We are not forcing Chrome on users. It is entirely up to the user–to download/install and nothing is hidden."