Google Pack — colour me confused

I don’t like to think of myself as being a stupid guy, and the billions of dollars that Larry Page and Sergey Brin have would indicate that they aren’t stupid either, but I have to admit that I share Paul Kedrosky’s puzzlement about the rumoured Google Pack that Larry is supposed to be announcing at CES — at least according to the Wall Street Journal.

What the heck is the point of bundling all that software and branding it as the Google Pack? Sure, Firefox is great — I use it all the time, even though it still has a memory leak problem that drives me nuts. Trillian is another favourite of mine, and I recommend Ad-Aware to everyone I know. The pack will also have Google Earth, Google Talk, Desktop etc.

But why Adobe’s PDF Reader? A nice tool, many people will likely never need it, unless Google has some other plans I don’t know about. And Real Player from Real Networks is a bloated piece of cling-ware that loads so much crap that I wouldn’t install it if Larry and Sergey paid me to. As for Norton Anti-Virus, it used to be a great tool but has become an intrusive irritant for many people I know.

I’m at a loss to explain what Google hopes to gain. The idea that this bundle is somehow a competitive blow against Microsoft is almost laughable (InsideGoogle is also bemused). If all you looked at was Google’s RSS Reader, Orkut, Froogle and even Google Talk (although it’s still early), you would be right to wonder — as Paul does in his poll — whether the search giant has “jumped the shark.”

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