There’s nothing particularly interesting or surprising about what’s in the Pack – it’s something of a dog’s breakfast, actually – but that, I’m pretty sure, is by design. Google wants the initial version of the Pack to be inoffensive because the overriding goal is to get as many Windows users as possible to download it. (If Google stuck Open Office in it, for instance, a lot of users would be nervous, both about the size of the download and about the possibility of screwing up their existing applications.)
The Pack will enable Google to get its two desktop search tools – Google Desktop and Google Toolbar – onto more PCs and, in the process, to install a little trojan horse named Google Updater. Updater, Google says, “helps you discover new programs and keep your current software up to date.” In other words, it gives the Googleplex a direct channel into your PC, bypassing Microsoft’s operating system and updater.
Some confirmation comes from Paul Boutin at Engadget in Backstage at the Google press conference:
The real action was in the green room last night. Onstage, Robin Williams had zapped audience members who challenged Larry Page with questions at the company’s keynote. But Larry and Google CEO Eric Schmidt faced the world’s toughest tech journos on their own afterwards at an invite-only press conference.
One reporter asks why no productivity software in Google Pack. Larry: “There’s a lot of software like Open Office out there. But we wanted to focus on keeping it simple and making the download work. We didn’t think that was the right sort of thing to put in there at first until we’d debugged it.”