Google makes Google Pack Brit-ish

Google has kindly made its Google Pack officially available for the UK, saving us having to download the .com flavour. Containing such freeware as Adobe Reader, Picasa, Google Screensaver and Firefox, it’s a ‘a free collection of essential software’.

Google makes Google Pack Brit-ish

As usual with Google releases, it is still in ‘beta’, but what this means for a collection of mature software is not clear. Perhaps the pack will become a bundle in the final release.

The idea is that the user just selects which programs they want to install. If the programs are already installed, Google Updater checks whether the latest version is running and, if not, installs it.

The Google Pack was first unwrapped in January 2005. ‘We developed Google Pack to give users a way to painlessly install all the essential software they need – pre-configured in a sensible way – in a matter of minutes,’ said VP of search products and user experience at Google, Marissa Mayer, at the time. ‘Better yet, users don’t have to keep track of software updates or new programs – we maintain and update all the software for them.’

What this means is that Google is installing more software on your computer. But rather than searching for more information about your work habits and preferences – a la Google Desktop, to better understand your searches – it seems more likely that Google is just wanting to build its reputation as a general provider of software.

With its recent moves into Office-like territory, with Calendar and Spreadsheet offerings, there is much speculation, that Google will eventually debut a fully-fledged, Web-based rival to the Microsoft Office system.

The full list of (non-Microsoft) software in the pack is:

– Adobe Reader 7 (PDF reader)

– Ad-Aware SE Personal (spyware detection and removal)

– GalleryPlayer HD Images (image presentation)

– Google Desktop (desktop companion)

– Google Pack Screensaver (photo screensaver)

– Google Toolbar for Internet Explorer (adding Google search to the browser)

– Mozilla Firefox 1.5 with Google Toolbar: Browse the web quickly and securely

– Picasa (Photo organiser)

– Norton AntiVirus 2005 Special Edition (6-month subscription)

– RealPlayer (media player)

Note that system requirements are Windows XP (with administrator privileges) and Firefox 1.0+ or Internet Explorer 6.0+.

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