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Google Services Gives You More Storage, If You Want To Pay For It


Google has finally unveiled a system under which you can pay them for more storage in Gmail, Picasa Web Albums, and eventually, a bunch of other Google services. For now, if your 2.82 gigabytes of Gmail space and 1 gigabyte of Picasa space aren’t enough, you can pay $20 a year to get an additional 6 gigabytes of space. Previously, $25 a year got you six gigs of Picasa space, so this is not just a discount, but space that can be used accross both Picasa and Gmail accounts.

If you need more space, pay for it. $75 a year gets you 25 gigabytes, $250 a year for 100 gigabytes, and $500 a year for 250 gigabytes. While paying for stuff is never fun, it’s better than running out of space and having to delete emails or photos. When Google expands this to Google Docs and other services, it’ll be even more valuable.

To compare with the competition, Microsoft’s Windows Live Hotmail offers 2 five gigs for free, 4 10 gigs for $20 a year. They also have SkyDrive for storage in the cloud, with 500 megabytes of free storage for sharing files or private file storage, something Google doesn’t offer anywhere. Yahoo has unlimited email inboxes, which is probably the way things should be by now everywhere, and 100 megabytes per month for Flickr, unlimited if you pay $25 a year. Flickr has one of the most unique free/premium feature differences, hiding all but your most recent 200 photos, not letting you create a bunch of sets, and a few other things unless you pay up, but at least not limiting your storage space, ever.

Not sure what’s going to happen if you pay for Google’s expanded storage this year, but not next year. I’d hate to use up all that space over a few years, then stop using Google for the next big thing, and have all my old emails and photos ransomed for more money. If I stop paying, what happens to my stuff?
(via jkOnTheRun and Loose Wire)

UPDATE: Microsoft increased their storage space to 5 free/10 paid gigabytes. Read more here.

August 14th, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Products, Web Albums, Services, Picasa, Gmail, General | 10 comments

Picasa Web Albums Now Shares Slideshows

Picasa Web Albums, Google’s cumberously-named photo sharing service, has added a new slideshow sharing feature, allowing you to post your slideshows to any place that allows the same type of flash embeds used by YouTube. Here’s an example slideshow:

Move your mouse over the slideshow and you’ll see the control buttons appear. You can use them to view the creator’s photo gallery, enable or disable captions, move backwards or forwards through the slideshow, or just click Play. The Picasa logo in the bottom right-hand corner switches open a description page, giving you the name of the user, slideshow title, and creation date.

May 18th, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Web Albums, Products, Picasa, General | no comments

Hosting sponsored by GoDaddy

Picasa Updated To Version 2.7

Picasa got an update on Tuesday, improving performance significantly, according to Amit Agarwal. New version 2.7 (from 2.6) is no long a memory hog, integrates better with blogger, and allows you to upload videos to Google Video direct from the interface. It also no longer comes with a screensaver, since the Google Pack has one, presumably lightening the size of the download.

This link is a referral link, from which you can download the Google Pack, which contains Picasa and other software:

April 26th, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Products, Picasa, General | no comments

An Update On Getting Google To Work With Opera

Last December, I posted about a user script for Opera that got several Google services to actually work in the wonderful Opera browser, and its a good time for an update. The script is new as of March 14, fixing Spreadsheets, Calendar, Picasa Web Albums, and Docs. You can get it here.

The real shame is that almost every problem in Google’s services results in Google’s stuff being coded specifically for the mistakes other browsers have. Yes, Google needs its stuff to work more importanly in IE and Firefox, but coding for quirks of those browsers means your stuff is always going to have problems with alternative browsers and future browsers, especially if you have zero fallbacks for standards-compliant browsers.

a description of what the script does

warns the user to Mask as IE

simply makes the “browser not compatible” notification to go way

simply overrides bad browser sniffing

many issues related to bad object detection

Apparently, before being acquired by Google, Writely was a model of browser compatibility, and since Google picked it up, not so much. Shame.

As one person puts it in the Opera forums:

In this thread’s case, the severe shortness of a script that fixes all functionality issues with Google docs, Google spreadsheets, Picasa, and Google calendar should be telling. That Google, one of the biggest companies around can’t find the time to test in Opera is shocking; that one man working alone can write an 140 line (including comments) script consisting of a handful of simple fixes should reflect far, far worse on Google than it does on Opera. Especially when you consider that they somehow find the time to work past IE innumerable flaws.

It’s not like Google doesn’t care. According to Opera Watch, some of their teams work hard with Opera to make sure things work. Problem is, then you have Google Page Creator, “which flooded the code with a enormous amount of browser quirks usage, or using Mozilla or IE’s bugs as features”.
(via Download Squad)

April 26th, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Web Albums, Spreadsheets, Docs, Calendar, Products, Picasa, Services, General | 2 comments

Picasa Web Albums Ups Storage, Features, Blogger Integration

Google has added new features to Picasa Web Albums, its online photo storage service, and increased the storage for free accounts to 1 gigabyte (up from 250 megabytes). New features include easy embed codes for sharing your photos through email, instant messages and websites and being able to search for public photos.

Also, Blogger now integrates with Picasa, with all the images you upload to Blogger becoming part of a Picasa account of the same name, enjoying all the features of Picasa, as well as the one gigabyte storage limit. For now, all your photos going back to December are in Picasa, but Google aims to get everything you’ve uploaded into the system. Finally, some useful integration of Google services!

Of course, this means Blogger no longer has vaguely unlimited storage, so be prepared to pay up if one gig isn’t enough for you. Prices start at $25 for 6.25 gigabytes a year, and go up from there.

March 11th, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Blogger, Web Albums, Products, Services, Picasa, General | no comments

Picasa Web Albums Adds More Storage Options

Haochi Chen noticed that Picasa Web Albums now lets you pay them even more money for more storage. Besides 6.25 gigabytes for 25 bucks, you can now get:

  • 25GB ($100 per year)
  • 100GB ($300 per year)
  • 250GB ($500 per year)

If you’re a serious heavy-duty uploader, this is just great. Flickr places limits on Pro accounts that can’t be increased; there’s no amount of money you can throw at them to get more than two gigs of upload bandwidth per month. At two gigs a month, it’d take over ten years to get 250 gigs of images online, and you’d pay $250 to do it. With Google, you pay $500 per year, and you can throw ‘em all online right now. Having different options is great for everyone.

November 21st, 2006 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Web Albums, Products, Picasa, General | one comment

Google Buys Neven Vision

Google has acquired Neven Vision, a company that does photo recognition. While Neven Vision’s background is in recognizing faces for biometrics, Google plans to use it to improve Picasa. Imagine if the first version of Picasa with this technology can recognize familiar objects in your photos, and let you tag people so they will be recognized in all your future photos. Could be interesting if the tech could be used in Google Images, as well.

Liz Gannes says:

Neven Vision has offices in Japan, the United Kingdom, Singapore and Germany, as well as 19 families of patents, so this can’t have been chump change. Investors include Anthem Venture Partners and Zone Ventures.

Check out all the other coverage on Techmeme.

August 16th, 2006 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Products, Google Images, Picasa, Search, General | no comments

Picasa Web Albums Now Direct From iPhoto

Mac users should enjoy this: Since you can’t use Picasa, you can now download the Picasa Web Albums Uploaded / Exporter to get your photos easily into Google’s online photo sharing site. The download installs a standalone piece of software, the Picasa Web Albums Uploader, to let you quickly title, describe, and upload your images, as well as an Exporter that lives in iPhoto, letting you click photos in OS X’s photo app and export them instantly to Picasa Web. This software requires OS X 10.4, but works on both Power PC and Intel Macs.
(via Applelinks)

August 14th, 2006 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Web Albums, Products, Picasa, General | 3 comments

A Look At Google AdSense Audio, and six other stories

Irvine Googleplex and AdSense Audio
Zachary Applegate of Plumber Surplus posted at SEOmoz a first-person account of his team’s recent visit to the Google offices in Irvine, California. Besides describing the office, which has the typical Google search ticker and a new Google Earth display, he also recounts their description of the in-development AdSense Audio system. Highlights:

  • Most radio ad buys start at $20,000. AdSense Audio will let those with $200 to spend get in on audio advertising.
  • Timing is everything. If a heat wave starts, AdSense Audio may switch ads from hot foods to colder foods, for example.
  • AdSense Audio will target radio, IPTV and podcast markets.

Check out the interface they are currently using. It doesn’t look anything like a typical Google interface, and it looks great. Looks like a pretty cool visit. Digg it.

Google Analytics Gets Blog

There is now a Google Analytics blog, at (kinda surprised that wasn’t taken). The blog has a pretty cool look to it. Get the feed.

Google Toolbar Privacy Policy Updated
Barry Schwartz figured out that Google updated its toolbar privacy policy. The most significant change seems to be the removal of this section:

We do not associate any of the information that Toolbar sends with other personal information about you. However, it is possible that a URL or other page information sent to Google may itself contain personal information. For information about how some web sites embed personal information in web requests, click here.

That could be a pretty big deal. I’d like to know if things I do with the Google Toolbar are specifically associated with my Google Account, especially since Google lets you login to your Google Account with the more recent versions of the toolbar. This is the sort of thing a Scoble-type would probably try to answer for us…

Dell Using Google Earth For Tech Support
The Detroit News reports that Dell is enhancing its tech support service by integrating it with Google Earth. Customers will be able to see in Earth the status of their support requests, visualized as to their location on the globe. I hope Google has good imagery in India.

All kidding aside, Dell’s customer service has been crap for a while. First off, I don’t think Google would want to be associated with the next story of a Dell customer getting angry in a very public way. Second, I’m not sure Dell wants its customers to know the extent of their support outsourcing. Third, if Dell wants to improve its service, there are other areas they need to pay attention to first. This is purely a money deal, part of their deal with Google to promote Google products.

German Lawsuit Against Google Book Search Withdrawn
WBG, a German Publisher, dropped their lawsuit against Google Book Search last week, after being told by the judge that they were probably going to lose. The court said it was going to side with Google’s arguement that showing snippets from in-copyright books is no worse than showing snippets from websites in Google web search (an already accepted practice). Google would probably have been better off if the lawsuit had not been withdrawn, since that sort of ruling would have set a very useful legal precedent, one that they will have to prove all over again in the next lawsuit.

Google SketchUp: Now For Macs
Google just released the first Mac version of Google SketchUp. The Mac version is for the older PowerPC systems (no Universal Binary yet) and requires OS X 10.3 and an OpenGL graphics card. It also only works with the latest version of Google Earth (version 4). SketchUp is an excellent 3D modeling program, and will do a great job extending the capabilities of your Mac. Download it here.

Larry’s Pics Left Out There
Philipp found Larry Page’s Picasa Web Album. Turns out there are no real privacy settings for PicWeb, just “public” and “unlisted”, and unlisted just invites you to guess the URL. That’s not the best way of handling online photos, many of which people don’t want to share with the rest of the world.

Maybe I’ll be heading to a few people’s PicWeb collections and try seeing if there is a “xxx” or “nudity” album? Page’s photos were far more innocent, and have been removed, but hopefully this taught the Google founder that, in the future, don’t release products without some real privacy options.

July 2nd, 2006 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Googleplex, Toolbar, Blogs, Analytics, Google Book, SketchUp, Web Albums, Google Earth, AdSense, Tools, Advertising, Search, Picasa, Products, Services, General | one comment

Picasa Web Albums: First Impressions

Looks like Jason beat me to the announcement, but here are the details of Picasa Web Albums.

Picasa Web Albums is supposed to be invite-only. However, if you enter your Google Account email address in the box on the homepage, you may get in immediately. I did.

When you sign up for Web Albums, you are prompted to download the new version of Picasa. The download is 4.56 megabytes. This new version contains a button for uploading to the web. The new version works on Windows (although the previous version is still available for Linux). You can also avoid downloading the software by uploading direct from the website. Just click “New Album” and then “Upload Photos”. Once your photos are online, you can arrange them into albums, add captions, or do other things.

You can mark your photos as public or private. Be aware that if you share your Web Albums public gallery, the URL contains your Gmail email address. However, unlike other, more poorly thought out URL schemes, Picasa lets you change the public gallery address if you’d like to protect your Gmail. Thank you! How about teaching the other Google teams how to do that?!

You can zoom, rotate, move or copy photos in your album. you can even download other people’s albums if you install the Picasa software, just by clicking a link in the album web page. You can leave comments on photos, a necessary part of social websites that Googel Video will hopefully reproduce one of these days. You can save favorites.

Web Albums comes with 250 megabytes of free storage. $25 per year gives you 6 gigabytes.

There are some new features in Picasa. Namely, you can now view photos either in the regular Picasa view, by labels, or by the folder hierarchy on your hard disk. Album collections can now by created, matching the online functionality. This version is only available to Web Albums users.

So, the big question: Picasa Web Albums or Flickr?

Flickr’s free accounts have a 20 MB per month upload limit and only three photosets. Google’s free accounts have a 250 MB total limit and unlimited photo albums. The pay accounts ae mostly more than anyone needs, with oodles of storage and unlimited photosets on both sides. I think Flickr’s approach is better, because whatever you can get in the system, it stays there, while if you stop paying for Google’s, anything over 250 could get deleted (read the FAQ). Also, I’d rather have limits on what I can add per month than total account size, since at least I’m not forced to delete individual photos to add new ones.

In the end, we’ve got two powerful services with great online interfaces and lots of options for users. Flickr’s got a base that won’t likely switch with too similar a service, unless Google develops a migration tool. However, Google’s desktop software, which is often compared to iPhoto, is too much of an excellent product not to woo new users, and it will back up Web Albums and cause a lot of users to use Picasa and the web service. That one-two-punch is a lot for Flickr to compete with, and may be the winning formula. Unless Flickr can replicate Picasa online, and I don’t think it can, perhaps Yahoo should start working on a software product?

Rakesh Agrawal has a bunch of screenshots. Also available as a Picasa Web Album.

June 14th, 2006 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Products, Picasa, General | 11 comments

Picasa Web Albums Goes Live

Google has just released the eagerly anticipated Picasa Web Albums. Picasa Web Albums come with 250MB of free storage. You can also purchase additional storage for your account. For $25.00 per year, you can get a subscription to an additional 6GB of storage – room to post and share approximately 25,000 photos. If you visit the site soon they are looking for Gmail users who want to be invited into the limited test. The invites are instantaneous as long as they are still accepting users for the beta test. You can find an example users profile here. They really seem to be integrating users into the albums, as you can comment on public albums and your name is listed with a link to your own profile. The Picasa Web Albums test also requires a new version of Picasa. Picasa 2.5.0 allows you to create albums easily.

June 14th, 2006 Posted by Jason Schramm | Products, Services, Picasa, Gmail | one comment

Google Readying Picasa Online?

Philipp spotted a very, very interesting link on, that read “New! Picasa Web Albums”. While we can speculate all we want about what this might refer to, Mahlon seems to have already figured it out. He noticed that the accidental Powerpoint notes from earlier this year included this sentence:

Picasa – provide better organization for our digital lives and with the release of online photo management, organize/store more of our important/cherished data with Google.

Yeah, looks like Picasa is readying some sort of online version, possibly a Flickr competitor. Further supporting all of this is the fact that Google registered on May 17, just a few weeks ago (spotted by iZeitgeist in the Blogoscoped forums).

This could turn out very interesting. Google has done a thing or two lately to remind us that Picasa still exists (including the Linux release), and it would be smart of them to move into this space. I’m just hoping they have the brains to realize that users want all of Google’s products to share a photo service, and not have different storage sites in Blogger, Orkut, and other places.

Maybe Google could reuse for the photo site? It would be a great use of an excellent domain name, one that they already own.

June 7th, 2006 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Hello, Products, Picasa, General | 6 comments

Google Releases Picasa For Linux

Google has released a Linux version of its excellent photo software, Picasa. Picasa brings some great organization of images to Linux, along with its excellent job of downloading photos from digital cameras, which I can imagine is not perfect in Linux.

Rather than a new version of the program, Google has taken the Windows version of Picasa and tweaked it slightly to run under Wine, a Windows application emulator. It includes all of the major Picasa features and the entire interface, minus the Hello instant messenger, CD burning, and backup TiVo. While the Google Firefox toolbar can run under Linux, this is the first time they’ve developed a full application specifically for that platform.

There are some curious issues. Due to concerns about licensing video and MP3 codecs for Linux, Google didn’t include any of those, resulting in uncompressed slideshows without any sound. Sometimes people forget that the MP3 codec isn’t free, and, while people have brought it to Linux, you are supposed to pay for it. There are also issues with clicking to email or open a web browser, since those aren’t well standardized in Linux.

It should run on any of these Linux distros running on a an x86 compatible processor:

  • Debian Sarge
  • Debian Etch
  • Fedora Core 4
  • Fedora Core 5
  • Linspire 5
  • Mandriva 2006
  • Mandriva 2005
  • Red Hat Workstation 3
  • Red Hat Workstation
  • Ubuntu 5.10 (Breezy Badger)
  • SuSE 9.3
  • SuSE 10.0

Make sure to pore through the FAQ before you download. This isn’t Windows; you’ll want to know all the information before you install.

Q. What open source licenses does Picasa for Linux use?

Picasa was brought to the Linux platform with the help of a variety of free and open source software projects. We are grateful to the authors of these projects for allowing us to use their work. The nature of the licenses for these projects does give you some additional rights. Further, we have returned all work we did with those projects back to the projects in question. Please see either The Wine Project or Mozilla for more information on their licensing.

Go to for more details on the code that Google contributed.

May 26th, 2006 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Products, Picasa, General | 4 comments

Google Referrals: Now For Pack And Picasa

Google’s AdSense referrals program now has two new options: You can get $2 for every user who installs the Google Pack, and $1 for each Picasa install. You’ll need an AdSense account, and you can get the code on your referrals section on the AdSense Setup tab. I only hope that we don’t see even more crap spam sits built entirely a single referral button, but I’m not stupid; I know we will.
(via the AdSense blog)

May 5th, 2006 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | AdSense, Google Pack, Products, Picasa, Advertising, General | no comments

Blog News Channel Podcast #1

The first podcast is online! I don’t like the levels so much, so will try to work on it for next week. Keep your volume a little low while listening.

Now, show notes:

Filename: bnc-podcast-2006.03.16.mp3
Size: 71.9 megabytes
Duration: 1:18:32
Recorded: 5-6:30 pm on 03.16.2006 in New York

All music is from

Subscribe to the RSS feed.

March 16th, 2006 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Blogs, Blogger, Controversy, Analytics, Podcast, Base, Google Earth, Products, AOL, Desktop, Picasa, Microsoft, Services, General | 6 comments

links for 2006-02-04

February 3rd, 2006 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Products, Stock Market, Culture, Google Video, Yahoo, Microsoft, Humor, Search, Picasa, General | no comments

Google Opens Video Store For VOD

Google announced a service Friday that will let people rent or buy downloadable videos online, including classic and contemporary CBS television shows and NBA basketball games.


With Google Video Store, which the company said will be “available soon” at consumers will pay $1.99 to download and view, for an unlimited time, episodes from last season’s “Survivor” series, as well as episodes of 300 older TV programs like “I Love Lucy,” said Peter Chane, senior business product manager for Google Video.

From [PCWorld]:

The service will act as a marketplace and lets the content providers decide in what capacity and for how much they want to sell their content, Page said. “Content producers are in charge, and they can decide if they want the videos for rental, download or other things,” he said.

From [BetaNews]

Customers would pay for their downloads via credit card through Google’s payment system. Half of the fee collected by Google would go to the companies providing the content, Google said. The search engine expects to have the service up and running soon from the current Google Video page.

NBA commentator Kenny Smith walks down the aisle interrupting “Hey hey, wait a minute here.”
Then he starts to say how cool it would’ve been when he, at his time, would’ve been able to download all NBA games only a day after they’ve been played. (See previous post with link to movie)

Full Coverage from [Engadget]: Loads of pictures

Important notes :

There was a project with VW AG to do a prototype Google dashboard. This sort of results in live footage for a GPS. “a quick demo of going from Las Vegas to the Strip … you can see restaurants and gas stations … you can also see a birds-eye view … this is all live ”

Larry demoed a phone version of Google Local Mobile. There should be a Blackberry version you can download now.
The Google Local for mobile service is available in beta form.

Something from the Q&A, regarding Google’s Video Store:

Q: Will it work with non-US credit cards?
Larry: “Maybe not right away, but eventually.”
- I can’t wait to try that out. Hopefully eventually is soon. [Coolz0r]

From the ‘About Google Video’ page:

Recent contributors to the Google Upload program include The Photography Channel, Metropole Filmworx,, UNICEF, CNET, Greenpeace,, Here! TV and many more. […]

Our mission is to give viewers complete access to public affairs programming and we are committed to use new technologies to enhance the value of our services. This partnership with Google further demonstrates how new technologies will expand our audience and make it easier to conduct online searches of our content for information most relevant to them. - Brian Lamb, C-SPAN Chairman and CEO.

If you’re a content owner:

New! Sign up for the Google Video Upload Program and upload your video for potential inclusion in our future version of Google Video.

So if you’re a producer of clips, you can make money together with Google. Seems like they’re starting to counter YouTube and Veoh, which both let users upload but don’t have any means to provide income for producers.

From [Yahoo News] : Google CEO Larry Page introduces a concept mini computer for children. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)

Laptop For Kids by Google

There’s a $100 computer Google has been working on with MIT.
Larry: “I think it’s an important thing to get people greater access.”
Nathan wasn’t too far off course with his $200 prediction here, except he only predicted a 10% odd of this to happen. Google: 1 - Nathan: 0 - Some other predictions were closer to the truth, on the other hand. So no harm done here :)

The rumor of a Google PC was still denied, Page promoted the idea of the $100 notebook that is intended to be distributed to 100 million children worldwide. Larry didn’t take the speculations about a Google PC seriously and answered a question about it with “Is there a rumor?”

More insights at [Yahoo News]

Also check out the Google Pack page (Currently WinXP only). Nathan covered that already a few posts ago, but here’s a roundup from the Google Press Center :

“We’ve heard from countless new computer owners that it can take days or weeks to install all the software they need to make their computer useful,” said Marissa Mayer, VP of search products and user experience at Google. “We developed Google Pack to give users a way to painlessly install all the essential software they need - pre-configured in a sensible way - in a matter of minutes. Better yet, users don’t have to keep track of software updates or new programs – we maintain and update all the software for them.”

Google Pack offers programs that meets Google’s high software standards and are considered best in their class, including:

* Adobe Reader 7
* Ad-Aware SE Personal
* GalleryPlayer HD Images
* Google Desktop
* Google Earth
* Google Pack Screensaver
* Google Talk
* Google Toolbar for Internet Explorer
* Mozilla Firefox with Google Toolbar
* Norton AntiVirus 2005 Special Edition
* Picasa
* RealPlayer
* Trillian

Google Pack also includes Google Updater, a new tool that intelligently downloads, installs and maintains all the software in the Google Pack. Google Updater alerts users when updates and new programs become available and ensures each program is always up-to-date. Google Updater can also be used to monitor the status of installation, run software that’s been installed, or easily uninstall software.

Other sites covering the keynote :

* Ars Technica
* TG Daily
* SearchEngineJournal

Closely related to this :

Motorola plans to put Google’s Internet search technology into the software that runs its mobile phones and work with Kodak to make on-the-go Web surfing and photo swapping easier, the companies said on Thursday. Nathan caught that story already, but it seems to turn out that Google will be the default search page. So I thought I’d mention it again.

DivX, the video technology provider, announces plans to help make Google Video available on consumer electronics. [Still looking for more sources to confirm this]

Stay Tuned.

January 7th, 2006 Posted by Coolz0r | Google Local, Toolbar, Consumer Products, Google Video, Google Maps, Products, Tools, Search, Picasa, Services, General | 2 comments

Tell Me Its Not A Software Bundle!

ThreadWatch writes that the Wall Street Journal has the scoop on Google’s CES announcement, and its a video download rental service… and a software bundle?

Google video rental: Google will be partnering up with television stations like CBS and the NBA to allow people to download videos for a fee.

Google Pack: a software package including pretty much everything but an operating system and productivity suite.

[It] will include the open-source Firefox Web browser, a version of Norton AntiVirus software from Symantec Corp., Adobe Systems Inc.’s Reader software, RealNetworks Inc.’s RealPlayer multimedia software, Trillian instant-messaging software from Cerulean Studios and Lavasoft AB’s Ad-Aware antispyware software. Google Pack will also include Google’s own desktop search software, Google Earth satellite imaging and maps software, Picasa photo-management software, Google Talk instant-messaging program, its Toolbar add-on for Web browsers and screen saver software.

The download service has been expected for a while, although I think most of us were expecting Google to differentiate itself with a long-tail download service (upload anything to Google Video, and charge for it).

However, the software bundle is just strange. Dirson reports that you’ll be able to find it at The Google Pack will have:

  • Firefox
  • A version of Norton AntiVirus
  • Adobe Reader
  • RealPlayer
  • Trillian
  • Ad-Aware
  • Google Desktop Search
  • Google Earth
  • Picasa
  • Google Talk
  • Google Toolbar
  • [Google?] screensaver

I call it the anti-Microsoft Pack:

  • Internet Explorer
  • Windows OneCare Live
  • Metro?
  • Windows Media Player
  • Windows Live Messenger
  • Windows Defender
  • Windows Desktop Search
  • Windows Live Local
  • Windows Vista Photo Gallery
  • Windows Live Messenger, again
  • MSN Search Toolbar

Most of Microsoft’s products are better, and at least all of Microsoft’s products are from Microsoft! What exactly is the point of bundling all these services, unless you get something extra? The only way this won’t be an awful letdown is if:

  • Google Bridge - Much like Adobe’s Creative Suite, Google releases a central interface for the whole shebang that ties in the whole system. The Bridge would run over Windows and shut out the operating system, possibly even providing better security. The Bridge would integrate the applications, creating a virtual Google shell, one that could eventually be ported to non-Windows platforms to make Windows irrelevant, if it takes off.

    Saving grace: 90%, even if it sucks
    Odds of happening: 30%

  • Premium versions - “a version of Norton AntiVirus” could mean that Google will pay for your antivirus subscription, but only if you keep the entire suite installed. Giving Norton’s suite away would be real tempting to most folks. Google could also bundle a lite version of a PDF creation tool, a premium version of RealPlayer and Ad-Aware, all if you keep the whole thing installed.

    Saving grace: 80% with Norton, 60% without
    Odds of happening: 60% for Norton, 15% for the rest of the Pack

  • New versions - Google will deliver new versions of its own programs, and Larry Page will try to be Steve Jobs onstage. Google Desktop Search is due for a new version, Google Earth could add a few new features, Picasa hasn’t been updated in a year, Google Talk needs more feature (although the presence of Trillian hints it still isn’t ready), and the Toolbar could be updated, maybe even to interface with the rest of the Pack. And the screensaver is new, and could be a functional screensaver, not a pretty one.

    Saving grace: 40%, unless there’s a killer new feature in there
    Odds of Happening: 45%

  • Does nothing - Google changes very little about anything in the suite (except for a few logos and cosmetic changes, and a minor new feature or two) and Larry Page spends most of the CES keynote explaining how good Google’s products already are.

    Saving grace: 0%
    Odds of happening: 80%

  • Google $200 computer

    Saving Grace: 150%
    Odds of happening: 10%

  • Google Cube media receiver

    Saving Grace: 130%
    Odds of happening: 20%

  • Some other, really good Google product gets announced

    Saving Grace: 80% if its really good, 30% if it isn’t
    Odds of happening: 50%

So, there you go. I’ve got my odds set out. I really hope Google isn’t doing something as low rent an unimaginative as a software bundle, but I guess anything’s possible. Ireally hope that if it is a software bundle, they’re hiding something else up their sleeve. You don’t keynote at CES for a software bundle, so either we don’t know everything, or Google is shooting real low.

Some more from WSJ:

Google Pack, which could eventually come preinstalled when people buy some new personal computers, is one way for Google to promote alternatives to Microsoft. It doesn’t, however, appear to include productivity applications, such as word-processor software, that would compete more directly with Microsoft’s core software business. A Microsoft spokesman wasn’t able to comment.

Google Pack, which will involve a single installer program for all applications, could also ease some of Google’s own work providing technical support to users. In some cases, the software in Google Pack could fix problems — such as viruses or spyware on computers — that impede consumers’ usage of Google services.

Some details of Google’s online video service remain unclear, such as how much content owners might charge consumers to download their videos. Google last year had said it planned to allow content owners to charge for videos, but it hadn’t activated that feature. Interest in delivering video over the Internet has surged since October, when Apple began offering downloads of popular TV shows through a partnership with Walt Disney Co. Google has developed its own digital-rights-management software to protect downloaded videos from piracy.

Seems like PR FUD about the Pack. Did the Journal promise to not say anything mean to get the scoop?

January 5th, 2006 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Google Earth, Toolbar, Talk, Google Pack, Products, Picasa, Tools, Desktop Search, Desktop, General | 17 comments