Google released several new things in these days: Google Earth for Mac OS X, some video/TV services, and a software package for Windows containing all the needed add on software.
While the most people and news media are speaking about the new video/TV services, I thought about the software package. It contains the basic Google (supported) software (Picassa, Google Earth, Google Desktop, Firefox, Google Toolbar, Google Talk) together with some of the software you usually need on a Windows XP computer: Antispyware, Anti-Virussoftware, Adobe Reader, Real Player and Trillian (Instant Messenger).
So why did google do this? It is the answer of Microsoft new strategy to provide all the software a average user would like to have: you can already have software from Microsoft with these functions, even a antispyware, a antivirus and a picture software comes with Windows. I am pretty sure that this software will be included in Windows Vista so if you want to stay in the game in one of these software areas you should hurry up to spread as wide as you can on Windows XP. You can only survive if the people know you so well that they prefer your tool instead of Microsoft native one.
Google forms now a coalition which soon will get together even stronger because they have no other choice!
We will see if this is the right way – I would prefer that all the software companies start to act in more tha nly one direction – Real and Adobe are good examples: they release their software for more than only one plattform, you can get at least some of the software for Mac or Linux. But I have to admit that they have to battle competition their, too, but this competition is open and in a way friendly: this competition does not hide file specifications or tries to become incompatible.
But what else does this software package contain? There is something which drew immediatly my attention on it, although I have the feeling that I am the only one who is interested in it: it is a software management tool. It manages your software and tracks if there are new versions out. If yes than it is the responsible instance for downloading and installing.
And that is completly new for windows software which does not come from Microsoft! If you use a Windows computer and install software on it you have to check all your software by yourself if it is still up2date – or the software tries it on its own way. But than you have one technique for each piece of software, and basically it is an automated installer-download system and you have to click yourself through an installer each time you update.
If Google develops this technique a little bit more other companies will try to join in – and than Microsoft will react. We soon will have to face a software management software which is responsible for all applications build for Windows. On the one hand that would be nice because than it would be pretty easy to keep Windows computer up2date – on the other hand Linux will lose one very important advantage over Windows then, which is very sad.
On Linux it is normally quite easy to keep all the software installed up2date – even such dump tools like a screenshot-program are regularly checked for updates and you don’t have to worry a bit as a normal user.
The only real disadvantage which still exists in the Linux worls is that there is no common format which allows easy installation of software. I wish for myself something like a “yum-package” (or “apt-package” or whatever you prefer) which does not contain more information than the usual rpm and the information where yum (apt/…) can get updates.
This version would work perfectly together with the normal package management (rpm in this case, but you construct this with deb also), it wouldn’t disturb the actual situation, but it would open some more nice possibilities for company packaged software. Just imagine getting a Adobe Reader package from Adobe which you install once and which than adds the update source to yum by itself!
But, back to topic: I think that this yet almost unnoticed move will develop in a bigger move of Microsoft soon – and I just hope that the Linux community has something to answer until then.
And, before I forget: While talking so much about google, I got Google Earth running in wine – with a lots of bugs, I can’t even see the side bars and has non-readable fonts – but I can fly around, and that’s pretty nice. I just hope that the english wikipedia is right and that Google Earth will come out for Linux, too. I’m looking forward how they will release it (as deb, as rpm, for which distribution, etc.). 🙂