Most of us know Google only as a search tool, which is absolutelly normal considering it’s enormous popularity. However, apart from search engine, Google actually offers lots of free to use web services and software (full list here).
Today I decided to review Google Pack, another free product from Google. It is free collection of essential software from Google and other companies. It is ‘all in one’ software package aimed to resolve several essential problems ranging from keeping your computer safe from viruses to organizing your photos. It can be downloaded from here and includes all products outlined below. You can select which programs you need prior to install.
- Google Earth: This program lets you zoom from space to street level and tour through the world using satellite imagery. Amazing tool with tons of applications. Can be used to check out driving directions, hotels, restaurants, your house, and much more. Check out our review here.
- Google Pack Screensaver: Screesaver utility that let’s you put your personal photos as screensaver. Photos can be viewed full screen or as a virtual collage. If you are short on computing power then I would recommend skipping this utility. But if you are a screensaver person then read more about this tool here.
- Picasa: Photo Organizer. I would recommend flickr.
- Google Desktop: Desktop companion mainly used to quickly search through your system for whatever you may need. Because of constant data indexing it does, it may slow down your PC. In case there is some sensitive information on your PC, you should make sure you exclude it from indexing. There is a lot more to this tool, check it all out here.
- Google Toolbar for Internet Explorer
- Mozilla Firefox with Google Toolbar: Check out our review of Mozilla firefox browser
- Ad-Aware SE Personal: Antispyware utility
- Adobe Reader 7: All known PDF reader
- Norton Antivirus 2005 Special Edition: Popular antivirus utility. When installed with pack it comes with 6 month free subscription. To continue using it afterwards you will have to purchase subscription from Symantec.
- Google Talk: Lets you call or send instant messages to your friends for free. Keep in mind that you can talk for free only with other Google Talk members. Skype may be a better alternative simply due to it’s huge popularity.
- Real PLayer: By far not the best but quite popular media player. I am not fan of it.
- Google Video Player: Needed only if you use or plan to use Google Video website. I would recommend using Youtube(profile) instead, which is by the way also owned by Google.
- GalleryPlayer HD Images: High Definition images on your screen
Pack comes with an updater, which will track for an updates for each software provided within and also notify you of new additions to Google Pack. To install Google Pack you need to be running Windows XP(or Vista) and have either Firefox 1.0+ or Internet Explorer 6.0+ browser. For installation, I wouldn’t recommend complete package but rather programs you really need, otherwise you may end up overloading your system with unnecessary stuff. It is also a good package to start with right after you have formatted your windows. Overall I think, Google does a great job by providing something like this for free. With all the money they make from the advertising I guess they can afford it.
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