Keeping it real(ly simple)

With the launch of its first ever software pack, appropriately named Google Pack Beta, the search engine giant should be praised for approaching technology from the normal user’s viewpoint. This approach is worlds apart from the attitude of many software firms, which seem to expect non-techie types to think like programmers…

  • E-Mail
By  Matthew Wade Published  January 16, 2006

|~||~||~|Google’s recently unveiled ‘Google Pack’ beta (or trial release) is effectively a batch of tools that any new or typical everyday user might need. It includes for instance: a browser (Mozilla’s whizzy Firefox release rather than Microsoft’s IE or Netscape equivalent); time-limited Norton anti-virus software by Symantec; spyware killer Ad-Aware; Adobe Reader, plus several of Google’s own releases such as the stunning Google Earth, its Desktop Search utility and more besides. In premiering Google Pack at the recent Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2006 in the USA, Google founder Larry Page simply put it like this: "Having the right software on your PC is as easy as going to the Google homepage." And that’s impressive. That’s the key difference between how his firm designs and introduces its solutions and how many of its competitors approach matters. You see, software - be it Microsoft’s, Google’s, or anyone else’s - is designed in the main by program developers; code crunching creators with scarily mathematical brains who spend the majority of their lives in PC-packed rooms and converse mainly with other, equally technically minded, app inventors. What this often results in is software that, it must be said, usually works, but software that’s also packed full of features you never knew you needed (and which, let’s be honest, you often don’t) and which you’ll also probably never have the time to learn your way around. As Gmail users know however, Google’s apps – its search engine included – might look like they were designed during a school lunch hour, but they’re easy to use and understand. Which in turn means that pretty much every user can learn to work their way around them and nail their respective features in a couple of days. As for how software is presented and related to the average user, there’s little comparison to be made at present between Google and anyone else. That’s because, with this Google Pack Beta, the search firm is saying to Joe Bloggs, “Don’t worry about all that security and essential app stuff, just download this once and you’re away.” The alternative would be our Mr. Bloggs – who might not be a regular reader of techie PC sites or magazines – reading a story about virus threats in his daily newspaper, logging on, and spending time hunting out the software he needs, or else heading to his local PC shop, buying a boxed package, going home, and installing it via CD. In other words, hassle, and isn’t life already full enough of that? Of course Google Pack isn’t perfect, and I’m not here to persuade you it is. A case in point: Symantec’s security software competitors might well point out that to download this pack of apps – and thus its Symantec anti-virus component – then a user has to connect to the internet, which they might be doing whilst unprotected from such security threats. A fair point indeed. But niggles aside, Google’s approach still has much merit. The company’s post-programming department, which in my head at least could possibly be called ‘And now in plain English…’, is doing its job well. And long may other firms realise the benefits of this, because once techie types have all the software they need, it’s time to relate to the mass consumer market on a level that works. ||**||

Add a Comment

Your display name This field is mandatory

Your e-mail address This field is mandatory (Your e-mail address won't be published)

Security code