Google Bundling Desktop Utilities With WinZip

    June 15, 2005

BetaNews reports that Google has struck a deal to bundle some of its utilities with WinZip, the popular compression software. The lead says it all…

In a marketing tactic used primarily by spyware and adware companies, Google has begun bundling its Google Toolbar and Desktop Search software with the popular WinZip archive utility.

Yes, bundling is evil. Not entirely of course, but this is opt-out bundling, where the programs will be installed unless the user notices and tells the installer not to. Opt-out is always evil. Why should anyone have to opt-out? If Google believes its software is very useful (and I would certainly agree with that), then why not just offer it to the user during install, but not installing it by default?

Most people install software by just clicking “Next” over and over, and they won’t even notice Google’s programs are being installed. They won’t even notice the slight loss in performance on their machines from running Google Desktop Search. They won’t realize that their IM conversations are being logged. They won’t realize a lot of things that are happening without them choosing to do so. “Evil”? You betcha.

I think antispyware programs should report this as low-risk spyware, what with the privacy implications inherent in GDS and the Toolbar’s AutoLink feature being installed without the user’s knowledge. Not that those programs are as bad as real spyware, but it is the responsibility of antispyware programs to warn us if those programs are being installed, so we can make informed decisions. Don’t be surprised if Microsoft AntiSpyware starts warning on Google software. It certainly should.
(via Weblogs)

On a side note, huge thanks to Coolz0r for taking the reigns these last two days. I’m thrilled to see it worked out as well as it did, with some real good posts. Hopefully a bunch of you guys have subscribed to his blog (but don’t stop reading this one!).

Read the BetaNews report

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Nathan Weinberg writes the popular InsideGoogle blog, offering the latest news and insights about Google and search engines.

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