Google takes a strange new direction

According to this Ars Technica story, Google is putting together a suite of free Internet-related software to be distributed as a single installer. “Google Pack” is rumoured to include a customised version of Firefox, Adobe Reader, a Symantec antivirus solution, AdAware, Trillian and RealPlayer, along with Google’s own offerings.

This is not something I’d have expected from Google, and if didn’t lead to a Google Accounts login page for beta testers (somebody’s broken their NDA, perhaps?), I’d have dismissed this as a silly rumour.

For one, Firefox is the only open-source title on the list – everything else is free, but only as in beer.

The reasons for including RealPlayer, which is unpopular at best, and the Trillian multi-IM client, when Google have their own chat client, are speculated upon in the article.

I wait with interest for the official release of the big G’s new product, and can only applaud them for at least trying to promote alternatives to the ubiquitious Microsoft offerings. Hopefully they do the “right thing” and give users to option to install only the applications they choose.

(via digg)

Update: Google Pack is now available (public beta). You can customise the pack before downloading – RealPlayer and Trillian are not included by default, and Google Talk is also available as an optional extra.

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