Google Pack is free ! Google Pack is an idea so simple it's a wonder no-one's already thought of it. Bundle together a group of 13 programs, all designed to make your computer easier to manage, search and secure. Stuff them into an easy-to-use downloader and flog them for, well, free.
Google Pack has a number of programs most PC Pro readers will have heard of. Nortons AntiVirus 2005, complete with a six-month subscription to online virus updates, Ad-Aware SE Personal and Mozilla Firefox are the headline acts.
If you're one of our readers, you're probably a PC enthusiast who has most of this stuff already. But we think Google did a pretty good job of anticipating the needs of novice computer users, and equipping them with useful tool. Many of the included apps are Editors Choice award winners in their own right, and those that aren't still generally scored high marks in our reviews.
Form google : Google Pack is a free collection of software from Google and other companies. The software in the Google Pack helps you browse the Web faster, remove spyware and viruses, or organize your photos.
Adobe Reader 7 is a handy inclusion if you've just reinstalled Windows, and Trillian, a one-size-fits-all instant messenger utility, means you won't have to use different programs if you have an IM account with more than one provider.
Best of all, both Google Earth and Google Talk are included. And, if you'd prefer not to have one user of the programs suggested by Google Pack, removing them from your download package is as simple as removing a tick from the box.
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It's encouraging to see a range of programs being offered, from Web surfing to malware blocking to PDFs and audio and video tools. Still, it would be nice to see Google Pack, which is a not-so-subtle Googlification of the Microsoft Windows Updater, cover a wider range of applications. Shockwave and Flash would be good places to start, as would QuickTime or a good, freeware FTP program.
Software including : Google Earth, Norton Security Scan, Google Desktop, Firefox with Google Toolbar, Adobe Reader, Skype, StarOffice, Google Toolbar for IE, Spyware Doctor, Picasa, Google Photos Screensaver, Google Talk, RealPlayer
- - Software specifically selected by Google .
- Always free - no trial versions or spyware .
- Ready to use in just a few clicks .
Mozilla Firefox: A web browser that allows you to browse the web quickly and securely. Firefox protects you from viruses, spyware, and popups. Firefox also offers tabbed browsing, which helps you switch between pages easily. Other alternatives include Opera or Internet Explorer, the browser that comes with Windows. Firefox is highly recommended but not required. Rating: 2/3.
Google Earth: A globe that sits inside your PC. You can point and zoom to anyplace on the planet that you want to explore. Satellite images and local facts zoom into view. Rather than install all this software, you can keep your computer less cluttered by visiting Google Maps. Rating: 1/3.
Google Pack Screensaver: The Google Pack Screensaver makes it easy to display your favorite photos when your screen is idle. Almost every digital camera on the market has software with it that allows you to do this. I see no reason to add more unneeded single-purpose software, unless you do not already have the capability. Rating: 0/3.
Google Talk: Google Talk is a downloadable real-time communications application that lets Gmail users call and instant message one another. Right now it only works with Gmail (Google's web-based free email system, a competitor to Hotmail). Rating: 1/3, but only if you are a Gmail user that doesn't already use another chat program like AIM or MSN.
Trillian: Trillian is a fully featured, stand-alone, skinnable chat client that supports AIM, ICQ, MSN, Yahoo Messenger, and IRC. Although I don't use it personally, this chat program is considered mediocre by friends due it trying to be the Swiss Army Knife of chat programs, which is a difficult task. If you don't want separate chat programs, this is the one to use. Rating: 2/3.
Google Toolbar: Perform a Google search from any site on the web, or to search for specific words on any given page. In addition, the latest version of the Google Toolbar offers users exciting features like the Popup Blocker. I am a big fan of the Google Toolbar. It has many other useful features that make it appeal to a wide range of computer users. Rating: 3/3.
Google Picasa: Picasa is software that helps you instantly find, edit and share all the pictures on your PC. Every time you open Picasa, it automatically locates all your pictures (even ones you forgot you had) and sorts them into visual albums organized by date with folder names you will recognize. Again, most digital cameras come with software that already does this. There are also many good commercial programs that do this as well. Plus, I dislike it when software "automatically" does anything, especially sorts things for me that I prefer to organize myself. Rating: a hesitant 2/3.
Ad-Aware SE Personal: Ad-Aware Personal provides advanced protection from known data-mining, aggressive advertising, Trojans, dialers, malware, browser hijackers, and tracking components. Ad-Aware scans your computer and detects known and unknown variants of malware and removes them. This is a must-have! But as I've said many times before, you should always use at least two different spyware scanners (like those on my Downloads page. If you are interested in the Ad-Aware Professional or Enterprise versions, I am a Lavasoft partner and can provide you with a quote.) Rating: 3/3.
Adobe Reader: Adobe Reader 7 is a PDF viewer that lets you view, print, and search PDF files. Adobe Reader 7 also loads 50% faster than previous versions of Adobe Reader. And it is still slow. Not a big fan of Adobe's pdf reader, but you'll eventually come across a .pdf document along the way. Rating: A begrudging 2/3.
GalleryPlayer HD: The HD images in Google Pack are provided by GalleryPlayer, a company that delivers the world's most famous and beautiful imagery from a wide variety of categories -- including fine art, sports, news, entertainment, travel and more -- to high-resolution displays. More clutter, unless you want to show off your High Def display. Rating: 2/3 if you have an HD display.
Norton Antivirus 2005 SE: Norton AntiVirus protects your computer from viruses, worms and Trojans. I am not a big fan of the Norton (also known as Symantec) product. It works, but as a professional I see a number of problems that people have with their products. Also, most new computers already come with a free time-limited antivirus suite. Rating: 2/3, only because you can't do without antivirus.
RealPlayer: RealPlayer is a media player that will play popular media formats as well as organize your music and videos. Try as you might you will find it hard to avoid using this product, as it is a very popular format on the web. I find it intrusive and obnoxious as do many people. Rating: 0/3.
Click Add/remove first
If you want the pack, don't click "Download Google Pack" yet - click "Add or remove software" first. This is because for some odd reason Google haven't made the entire list of software in the pack downloadable by default. I'm not sure why, personally I'd have listed the whole lot on the main page and made it a "Remove software" link instead.
If you click add/remove, then you'll get the chance to tick the missing ones before you download: Google Talk, RealPlayer, GalleryPlayer HD Images, Trillian. (Sure you can do that afterwards, but why not do it all at once?). It's rather odd that Google Talk isn't ticked, and that they offer both Google Talk and Trillian which do pretty much the same thing.
if you have a firewall you will need to let Google Updater through it. It seems to install that first and then it gets on with sorting out the rest. (An oddity is that on my PC at least Updater wants to connect to blogsearch.google.com rather than say pack.google.com. I wonder why?) You'll also have to let Internet Explorer, as launched up Updater, connect to (again) blogsearch.google.com.
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