Announcing The Google Pack

Dennis Faas's picture

For those that have had to reinstall Windows XP or have purchased a new computer with it pre-installed, getting a good selection of software to start with is sometimes a time daunting task. Google has done something about it, however.

The Google Staff Engineers went through dozens of software packages and built a collection of software tools, utilities, and toys that are automatically updated for you -- and it's called Google Pack.

Google states that the versions on some software may lag behind a version on some software packages, but that is only because the engineering staff check out each selection to try and ensure the software works before allowing it to be updated as the "Google Pack".

OK, so what's in the Google Pack?

  • Google Desktop: If you have ever used Google Search Web Page, your going to like the Desktop. It gives you the ability to search your system for information much like the Web. You enter a word or phrase and, if a document or data file contains that information, it will be listed. Clicking on the listed item will retrieve the file and display it for your reference. The files searched include all your email, files, web history, and more. It also has a separate Sidebar display that is customized with gadgets that can monitor News sites and all sorts of other information sources.
  • Google Toolbar for Internet Explorer: Search from any web page and auto fill forms on IE as well as block annoying pop-ups.
  • Google Pack Screensaver: Enjoy photos from your personal collection by viewing your pictures full screen or as a collage.
  • Google Talk: Call or send instant messages to your friends for free the same as with AOL Instant Messenger or MSN. Get a free account using your mobile phone.
  • Picasa 2: Find, edit, and share your photos in seconds. This is like any other Instant Messenger except that it can include selected personal photos from your computer. It also has the ability to easily remove red eye and fix photos.
  • Mozilla Firefox with Google Toolbar: The viable replacement browser for IE.
  • Ad-Aware SE Personal: Antispyware utility and one of my personal favorites. Safely detect and remove Spyware.
  • Norton AntiVirus 2005 Special Edition: Antivirus utility. Protect your PC from viruses, worms and Trojans. Includes 6-month subscription to protection updates.
  • Adobe Reader 7: PDF (Portable Document Format) reader.
  • Google Earth: 3D Earth browser. This is a cool toy. You can dive into this and actually see your neighborhood (or anywhere else, for that matter) from as around as 3,000 feet in the air. Of course, you start out several hundred miles out in space but it is rather fun to go hunting, just to see if you can find your house. You can also find other things like parks, hotels, restaurants, and big buildings. You can find maps and driving instructions, and lots of other things. The display is taken from satellite photos takes as little as a few hours prior to your searching so you won't see anything that is happening 'right now'.
  • Google Video Player: Play videos purchased and downloaded through the Google Video website RealPlayer -- Play popular media formats, organize music and videos Transfer music to iPod and other portable media players
  • GalleryPlayer HD Images: High-quality artwork and photos Perfect for your screensaver or desktop
  • Updater: One last tool in the Pack is the Updater. Whenever Google approves a release of one of the software packages, and you connect to the internet, the updater will download and install the new release for you. Makes keeping up to date a whole lot easier. Existing versions on your system are noted and will either be updated at install or be ignored if they are up to date. You can also customize the Pack by adding or removing packages from the selection list on the Web Site.

One thing you will want to know is that the Desktop will Index your system for the search function and, depending on how much it has to go through, may take a good amount of time (several hours). But once indexed, the desktop will add any new data as it is stored on your storage media, whether it be Hard Disk, CD, or Floppy.

The Pack is a good, intelligent, and easy way to get the software you need. However, it is for Windows XP ONLY. It won't work with any other Windows platform.

Have FUN!

Rate this article: 
No votes yet